Everyone is gathered around a nice conservative table for a family dinner. Uncle Joe is talking about the news, your aunt can’t stop talking about how good the food is, and the vibes seem to be very uplifting. Everything seems quite “normal”, until someone finds out you meditate, believe you are a soul, believe in conspiracy theories, or don’t eat meat. Then, sh*t gets real.
You may find yourself being put on the spot, made fun or, or criticized for your beliefs and way of thinking quite often. They may call what you do or believe “satanic”, or say that you are “lost” or will “grow out of it”. One of the most difficult things about the awakening process is learning how to adjust to a world that seems indifferent.
We come across all of this cool new information, we have amazing experiences in nature or in meditation, we have completely expanded our minds, and then we step back into a society that is asleep for the most part. Some of the people that claim to love us will start becoming resistant to accepting us and supporting us during our awakening process.
So how do we deal with family members in our lives who judge you and don’t support us? How do we deal with feeling alienated by the people who we grew up with, and how do we cope with trying to discover ourselves when our own family thinks we are looney?
Here are 3 tips to deal with family members who don’t understand your spirituality:
1) Know your stuff. Know it well.
This is super important. We need to hold ourselves responsible for doing a good job sharing our knowledge with the world. It’s crucial that we have something to offer to skeptics who would love nothing more than to strengthen their own belief that this progressive counter-culture movement is just a bunch of hogwash. If you have any older family members, you know exactly the kind of resistance I am talking about.
Hit them with some facts you have memorized and prepared incase you are asked to share your beliefs about something. You don’t need to be an encyclopedia, just have a few super clutch facts ready. Find the strongest 3 or 4 points for your position, and have them on file in your head.
If you are a vegan, memorize some of the most important environmental impacts of animal agriculture. If you believe in a spirit world and afterlife, have some strong NDE cases ready to present in case somebody asks. I have a personal library in my head consisting of the evidence for the existence of the soul, tied in with philosophical arguments for us being soul/body composites.
They want knowledge, and quite frankly they deserve it. If we claim to know the truth, but are unable to justify our own position or show others WHY it is the truth, then what good does claiming to know it do?
WE are the ones charged with the responsibility to share the truth with others, and to do it well. We should at least have a solid knowledge-base prepared for when family members or other people try to bring us down and make us feel like we are on the wrong path. But knowing your stuff is not enough:
2) Stay levelheaded, and be sincere
Keep your kinship and friendship as the ground of your conversation. If your uncle is an atheist, don’t get angry at him when he takes a jab at your belief in God. Talk with him about it from your heart in a calm manner. Don’t speak from anxiety or tension. Anxiety or tension may arise, but don’t let that be the source of your thought.
I find that people start being more open-minded to alternative things when they can sense an authenticity to us and what we are saying. Sometimes, people will be easier to convince and more open-minded when they are in a good mood. It’s just how human psychology works. So keep them in a good mood as you discuss with them, and you will see a change in their response when lightheartedness is the source.
Your goal should be to share information with them, not prove to them that you are right and they are wrong. If you know what you are talking about and have sincere intentions, it just makes other people look silly when they try to bring you down.
3) Don’t take things personally
Honestly. Some people only know things they read about in the local morning paper, and don’t want to know anything outside of the old way of thinking. They get a rush off of challenging someone with a more alternative point of view, because it allows their ego to feel more validated and affirmed in its own correctness. Einstein once said intelligent people ignore foolishness, so don’t let them get under your skin.
Some people will stay stubborn in their old beliefs because its more comfortable and convenient for them. If someone thinks you’re crazy because of your beliefs and interests, who cares?
Honestly. Why does it matter what people think of you? Even if it is your own family member, you goal shouldn’t be to seek their approval. Seek the truth. If you are grounded in the truth, and you know that, then what other people say or think about you really doesn’t matter.
So either help them by sharing knowledge with them, or let it go in one ear and out the other.
Know your stuff, come from a place of sincerity, and don’t take anything they say personally. It’s a pretty simple formula.