3 Ways You Can Be Spiritual Even If You’re Not Religious
Joanne was becoming frustrated with her friend, Kate. “But how can you keep telling me you’re spiritual and then say you’re not religious?”
Kate smiled and said, “It’s simple. I have developed deep connections with myself, the environment, and my community. I’m connected to something much bigger than myself, and I know my purpose.”
Joanne was taken aback. She had never thought about spirituality and religion as being separate before. And as religious as she claimed to be, she had never experienced that kind of spiritual connection with herself or her community.
Though religious, Joanne was missing connection. Or as we refer to it here at ITN, “spirituality”.
Oftentimes, spirituality is thought to be solely a religious quality, but that is not the case at all. We view spirituality as a connection with yourself, your environment, and the world, and it plays a very important role in your overall health.
Religion is often defined as a belief system, and though many religious people have developed deep spiritual connections, others go through the motions without ever taking time to build these connections.
Spirituality can help you reduce your stress, define your purpose in the universe, and discover something greater than yourself.
There are three different types of spirituality – an inward process, an upward process, and an outward process. Let’s explore them now!
3 WAYS YOU CAN BE SPIRITUAL EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT RELIGIOUS
1. PERSONAL SPIRITUALITY
Personal spirituality, an inward process, is a person’s relationship to and connection with oneself. This is a tough one for some people if they are not comfortable and happy with themselves.
Oftentimes, low self-esteem, low self-confidence, a lack of self-efficacy, low motivation, a lack of purpose, and a low self-worth are signs of a poor connection with yourself.
To best develop personal spirituality, you must discover and embrace every part of yourself – even the ones you don’t like or have hidden away for fear that someone else might discover them. (We’ve all been there.) You must learn to love and accept yourself unconditionally and forgive yourself. After all, you can’t love someone else until you truly love yourself. I know, this can sound daunting but remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day and your self love can’t be either.
It’s important to take part in meaningful activities throughout your day. This doesn’t mean you have to go out and volunteer each and every day. Instead, try to extract meaning from even the most mundane occurrences, like making your children breakfast or tacking a project at work that will, in turn, have an impact on those around you. And hey, if you have time to volunteer, do so! There is no greater gift we can give than that of time and service.
Keep your goals and desires rooted in purpose and direction for the future to continue developing a deep connection with yourself, and never give in when it comes to your values or discovering your truth.
If you start to look at personal spirituality as a relationship with yourself that needs work, love, and attention (much like your other relationships), you’ll be well on your way to nurturing your body and feeding your soul.
2. COMMUNAL SPIRITUALITY
Communal spirituality is defined as, “connections and relationships with others”. People were not meant to live life alone, and every spirit was meant to connect with a larger web of spirits in order to thrive.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that the more relationships or friendships you have, the healthier your communal spirituality will be. It’s important to think about building meaningful, healthy relationships that connect you to others, challenge you to grow, and continuously support you.
These relationships come in all shapes and sizes, from romantic relationships and friendships to professional relationships or casual acquaintances. You likely already have some of these relationships and connections in your life, so simply make a point to prioritize them and nurture them, and you’ll begin developing a deeper sense of communal spirituality.
3. ENVIRONMENTAL SPIRITUALITY
Environmental spirituality takes on a number of forms. This kind of connection might include a relationship with nature or the universe, or it could be the belief in a higher power or deity. To generalize environmental spirituality, you can think of it as, “a relationship with a divine being, nature, and/or the universe”.
There are many ways to build and develop this connection. An easy way is to step out into nature and get lost in your surroundings. It’s easy to slow down and find peace when taking in all the beauty the outdoors have to offer.
A relationship with a higher power – whatever that means for you – can also generate meaning and purpose in your life. This is much different than simply categorizing yourself as a member of a religion, it’s developing a deep, meaningful connection with a higher power that in turn promotes a sense of comfort and trust.
Throughout your environmental spirituality journey, you can also take time to show appreciation for the earth and how it sustains you, and take a look at your home environment, work environment, and even social environments to ensure they’re promoting healthy, meaningful connections in your life.
TO WRAP IT UP
Remember that while religion can be a part of your spiritual journey, it doesn’t have to be. Whether or not you’re religious, it’s important to take time to focus on your spiritual health as it plays a major role in your self-discovery, purpose, meaning, and self-worth.
Creating and personalizing these connections with yourself, your community, and your environment are essential to developing a sense of fulfillment and happiness in your life.
How will you make an effort to create connections this week? Share one thing you will do in the comments below!