I was part of a discussion a couple of weeks ago and a comment was made that someone shouldn’t worry about bad things happening to them because they’re a good person. I think that’s a misconception that a lot of people have. Whether you consider yourself spiritual or religious, I think that a lot of us believe that our faith protects us from negative experiences. I think this is a faulty assumption that can leave us feeling devastated when we are hit by the very experiences we thought we were immune from.
I remember reading an article once, where someone was criticizing Dr. Wayne Dyer. They said that clearly his teachings don’t work because he’s been divorced more than once. They believed that if he practiced what he was teaching he should have been able to prevent the dissolution of his marriages. Full disclosure – I’m a big fan of Wayne Dyer. That article made me wonder if the author thought that a therapist wasn’t allowed to have problems at home, or that a doctor can’t get sick. Clearly their reasoning was “off”.
I don’t think that our belief in a higher power protects us from negative experiences. What I do believe is that when we have a strong spiritual practice, those “bad” experiences don’t affect us in the same way. When we have a daily practice that supports mindfulness and gratitude, we are better prepared to face life’s challenges.
If we’re already feeling stressed out and overwhelmed, things only get worse when we’re faced with a negative experience. It can leave us feeling like life is beating us up and unsure about how we’ll ever get through it. If we’re not careful, depending on the magnitude of the situation, it can swallow us hole.
When we have tools that we can go to when we’re faced with life’s challenges, we can minimize their seriousness. With the right mindset, we look at the obstacles we encounter and know that it will pass and that it isn’t the end of the world. Instead of asking why me, we seek the lessons in the experience.
Have a spiritual or religious practice or belief doesn’t keep us immune from negativity. What they do is provide us with tools to manage life’s challenges in a more productive way. Rather than allowing negative experiences to leave us defeated, we know what we need to do to stay focused and motivated to do the things that are important to us.
Once we understand the purpose of building and strengthening our spiritual practice, we avoid getting blindsided by life’s inevitable struggles and have faith that we have access to the tools we need to persevere regardless of what we’re faced with. Who couldn’t benefit from that?