How Relationships Change With Spiritual Growth: Owning Our Spiritual Nature
Spiritual growth - evolution - promotes human growth. The process touches every facet of our lives, in time. The scope broadens when we share our spiritual nature. And when that happens, it's only a matter of time before it touches our relationships. In the case of some relationships, change arrives soon afterward.
"Is it me or is it them?"
That's a question you might ask yourself, a friend or family member, or even a therapist. My response to that question: "Both."
As we grow and evolve, we change. And as we change, our perspective changes. When we see things differently, we may find that behaviors we once tolerated from loved ones become intolerable. And we may find that behaviors we once accepted become unacceptable.
In a way, we might look at this change in perspective as clearing away the cobwebs. In another way, we might consider it taking out the recycling... or the trash.
The clarity regained through spiritual growth promotes a need for clarity in our everyday lives. And that clarity includes disengaging ourselves from relationships that we discover are truly toxic to us. It also includes some relationships disengaging themselves from us because we're "different" now. We aren't the people they thought we were, or "used to know."
We may very well become "different" through this evolution, by virtue of our changed perspectives, choices and actions. And those differences reinforce the need for change in our lives - relationships included. Of course, we likely prefer that we initiate the change or break-ups.
When "they" initiate the change or break-up...
...most likely we experience more discomfort than when we initiate it. It probably hurts more. And that's because it's typically initiated by the people we felt solid with and sure of. These people we love, and they love us, and yet now they pull away.
We could say the shoe is on the other foot, given the prior section. And yet the reason for our changes and break-ups stemmed from the toxicity of the relationships. (Do those people know that, or did we ghost them?)
Through my own spiritual growth, this aspect of it definitely hurt the most. Sometimes, it still does. I mean, ideally our loved ones accept us for who we are, even if who we are is outside their scope of belief or understanding. That ideal may not apply when brought up against their religious beliefs and/or fears, though.
Consider if their religion denounces Reiki, Tarot and mediumship, for example, and those practices are our new normal. Chances are high they'll either put us at arms length ("I love you, but...") or sever ties with us ("Blasphemy!").
This is the reality of spiritual growth when it comes to relationships. It "separates the wheat from the chaff," as the saying goes. It may also result in walls rising where there once was open and easeful space.
Boundaries provide a necessary function for all of us. Their function may take on a different energy and deeper necessity through our spiritual evolution. Awareness of how to set boundaries and types of boundaries may help us help ourselves. The Holistic Psychologist offered this up recently:
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Most of us are raised in homes where boundaries are not modeled. A boundary is simply a line in the sand of what we will and will not accept. We end up not speaking our boundaries which makes us feel resentful and drained. This means we ultimately erupt. We use subjective language and end up not being fully clear. This is why boundaries are so important. We don’t need to get to the point where we feel like we’ve “lost it.” The best way to speak a boundary is in a non-emotionally reactive state. I’m going to use an example from my own little world. I was feeling very overwhelmed with hearing about my moms chronic pain. Not from my mom, but from other members of the family. They would call or text often about how to get her to do “x.” Or tell me why she is doing “z.” If there was a disagreement in the home, they’d call me to sort it out. Often times I would get a text saying “can you please tell mom to ....” This happened almost daily. How did I know I needed a boundary? I was starting to feel anxious. All I can describe it as is a low level of agitation. A constant feeling of being on edge. So I set a boundary by saying “I would like to have a different way to connect besides talking about mom and her illness.” It’s important to understand a few things. First, this was actually news to my family that they spent so much time discussing my mom. This is why it’s so important to clearly state the issue because many people are unaware. The second thing to understand is that just because you set a boundary does not mean people will respect it. It is up to you to hold the boundary regardless of the other person (s) behavior. For me this meant ignoring text messages. It meant not calling back. It meant bringing up other topics of conversation. And of course it meant being very uncomfortable when people became upset with the boundaries I had set. Without boundaries in our lives we feel constant chaos. Almost like we’re “on call” for other people. This can lead to self neglect. What do you struggle with most in setting boundaries? #selfhealers
She then dropped this gem:
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It’s funny, I never know which posts are going to get emotional reactivity. It’s clear ghosting brings up a lot, so I’m going to expand on it a bit. There seems to be some confusion which means I did not communicate this well. Ghosting as I know it to be, is disappearing. Without explanation, leaving another person in the dark when the relationship doesn’t seem to have issues. The person is left caught off guard and confused. This is different than no contact which is absolutely necessary in cases of abuse or continued violations. This is also different from a boundary which is a clear verbal description of your personal limits. I wrote the reasons why people ghost from my own experience. Ghosting was my MO for most of my 20s. I had a ton of unresolved emotions that made me conflict avoidant. I betrayed myself. I was emotionally immature. I didn’t explain things to people from my own discomfort. And deep seated fears of not pleasing others. I’m noticing how many people feel emotional immaturity is criticism or judgement. It’s not. We are all dealing with emotional immaturity because we live in a society that address or value emotional intelligence. Our parents don’t model it. My own emotional immaturity is something I’m still working to heal. Radical honesty and accountability are the path to personal growth. We need to have these conversations. We don’t owe anyone anything. I agree. Other people’s emotions are not our responsibility. I agree. But we are also worthy of expressing ourselves. Of objectively letting another person clearly know our feelings, even if that makes us uncomfortable #selfhealers
And when it comes to loved ones imposing boundaries on us... Well... Remember, we can't control others' reactions to our evolution. What we can do is find it within ourselves to remain open-hearted even in the face of newly-erected boundaries or walls.
This post is part of a series: Owning Our Spiritual Nature
Here are the other posts, in order of publishing: