In this world, we tend to do a lot of things that bring us down without actually noticing it. Whether you’re pretending to be happy for the sake of those around you or ignoring the signs that things are going south, you could be really damaging your own mind.
For those who might not be aware there is something that many tend to do though they should not called ‘spiritual bypassing.’ This is basically a defense mechanism that pushes us to turn towards things like meditation rather than actually addressing the things we are feeling. Essentially we hide our issues behind our ‘spiritual path’ and think we are doing well all the while locking a lot within.
The shorthand for spiritual bypass is grasping rather than gratitude, arriving rather than being, avoiding rather than accepting. It is spiritual practice in the service of repression, usually because we can not tolerate what we are feeling, or think that we shouldn’t be experiencing what we are feeling.
There is a shadow side to almost every positive thing we can do for ourselves, including spiritual practice. All spiritual and psychological tools can be used in a “willful” way. For example, sometimes self-care is actually about taking care of ourselves: unplugging from too much work and plugging into more balance and harmony. But sometimes, under the guise of self-care, we are really just checking out: denying what’s happening and how scary it feels to show up for life.
Doing this and carrying a smile when you’re not actually happy can have serious impacts on you as you move through your life. When we ignore our own emotions, it pushes us to neglect our own mental health and makes us more prone to feeling empty once all is said and done. If you’re more aware of your negative emotions and allowing yourself to feel and let go of them you are going to be able to actually work through the problems at hand.
To be completely honest, faking positivity actually causes more stress rather than reducing it. We forget where the lines of what is real and what is fake forcing more unsettling experiences to push forward. Fake smiles and laughs don’t always lead to real ones, sometimes we are dealing with more than we can handle, and we need to be able to get the help we need rather than just going through the motions hoping things will work out in the end.
Very Well Mind wrote as follows on the topic of fake positivity and it really breaks things down in a proper manner:
When you smile as a way to repress upset feelings, you can make yourself feel worse. We all sometimes do this when we need to in order to be socially acceptable. And some research actually does suggest that forcing a smile can even help depressed people feel better. But if you always cope with unhappiness by forcing a smile and pretending you’re not upset, this can create other problems. It can feel inauthentic and it can be part of a greater pattern of not dealing with your feelings. If you fake a smile so those close to you, those who could offer support, don’t know that anything is wrong, this can keep you from getting social support that could make you feel better. So smile when you need to, but let yourself be real when you can, and process your feelings.
The point of all of this is that sometimes we hide from the world and neglect our own wellbeing in assuming we are doing the right thing by diving into a spiritual fix or pretending there is no problem at all. You might think doing these things will fix your life but the truth is it is a great way to ruin your life when you really think about it.
For more information on this topic please feel free to check out the video below. Have you ever done these things and how did they affect you? Sure, we’re all different, but we also all need to be as aware of this kind of issue as possible.