First, I’m not going to tell people not to practice their religion or spiritual practice. The ability to have diverse experiences and lives is what makes this world beautiful. I am going to address the victim blaming that happens when religion and/or spiritual concepts are used to blame those that experience chronic illness.
When you get sick, it’s sometimes easy to notice where you slacked off. Maybe you weren’t getting enough rest, or your diet wasn’t the best, or your work environment became toxic or whatever you find the culprit to be, it’s sometimes easy to find, and then when you can, you take action to change the situation. Other times, when you get sick with a chronic debilitating illness, it sometimes isn’t always that clear. For me, I know the root of my illness is infections, which we are addressing, yet for someone in my predicament where I have done all the “right things” like eating a clean, healthy diet that works for my body, meditating, eliminating toxic people and environments as much as I possibly can, focusing on gut health, detoxing for genetic issues, taking the right supplements for my genetics and body make-up, and the list goes on and on, it can be a tough space to be in. There are still people who seem to believe that there must be something I’m doing wrong. I can’t possibly be living in a body that could cause this much suffering without being a contributor myself to it.
Well, unfortunately we are all here to have a human experience, and that involves living in a body that, despite our best efforts, sometimes doesn’t always work in a way that allows us to function well. This is where the blaming and shaming can come in from new age/spiritual coaches and people as well as those who practice religion.
You hear the “you have unprocessed trauma you’re not addressing,” “you just need to find more joy,” “you are causing this to yourself,” “you aren’t praying enough” or “if you just accepted Jesus into your life you would be healed.”
First, when did illness and wellness become associated with one religion that involves Jesus? Second, why are these fabricated stories created to make those who are already debilitated feel even worse about their circumstances they have no control over? Seizures are not caused by “evil spirits” or “bad energy.” Brain and neurological disorders are not caused by “negative thinking.” I could go on and on. You get my drift.
I obviously believe we are responsible for taking control of the things we can in life, but there are some things we have to realize that, no matter how much good we do, we can’t always control the outcome. We can only try our best and let go of the people who criticize us for using the word “try.”
If you are using your spiritual or religious practice to shame someone else or to make yourself feel superior, I ask you to revisit your humanity, for some day you too might experience suffering, and it might be at the hands of ignorance.