I work with many people whose spiritual connection is very important to them, but who are in a relationship with a partner who ridicules them, or whose family ridicules them. My client, Shelly, ask me: “I'm in a relationship with a man who is very kind and loving but does not have any form of faith, and he regularly ridicules religion. I am not religious, but I do have spiritual beliefs which he describes as ‘fanciful’. I don’t feel close and connected with him, or respected by him when he judges me, so I no longer share my beliefs with him. But why does he ridicule me? And how should I respond to this?”
People who don't open to having a personal experience of Spirit are often afraid of being duped or controlled. They feel safe when they are in their head rather than in their heart, and they may feel afraid of being used or taken advantage of if they move into their heart. When such a person takes a one-up position, like Shelley's partner who is judging her spiritual beliefs as 'fanciful,' it's often because they are afraid of losing control over the other person. Perhaps Shelley's partner fears that if she follows her own guidance, he may lose control over her.
My husband also judged me for my spiritual beliefs, and I felt much pain from this – loneliness, heartache, and helplessness over him.
If you are with a partner, friend, or family member who ridicules and disrespects your spiritual beliefs, here is what you can say or do to take loving care of yourself:
It’s not about needing the other person’s approval; it’s about the existential pain we feel when someone who claims to love and support us, instead disrespects us. It's this pain that you need to attend to with compassion for yourself, being open to learning with your guidance, in order to know how to respond to others.
Even if we are valuing ourselves, it feels hurtful to be ridiculed rather than supported.
Your inner child needs for you to compassionately acknowledge the painful feelings you likely feel whenever someone is rejecting, judgmental, mean, ridiculing or discounting. This is a step most people either forget or don't realize they need to do. When you don't take others' behavior personally and you don't need their approval, then you won't feel the wounded feelings of anger or hurt feelings, but you will still feel the heart hurt of the loneliness and heartache of others' unloving behavior. Naming the feelings and being compassionate toward ourselves does wonders in allowing the feelings to move through.
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