Religion, Relationships, and Joy

Ahoy!  I hope you are all well!  Neko-chan is being a little attention whore today.  She is so adorable.  I am also so very bloated with water retention and inflamed because I have eaten a lot of dairy and egg products the last few days.  I would not recommend if you are intolerant/allergic to dairy and egg products to do so.  I feel sick and regret everything yet nothing.  I also have a weird bruise on my left shoulder.  Moving along.

This morning, my Godmother brought up a post I had made on Facebook about my studying/practicing Buddhism on the way to church.  In the post, I talked about how much happier and calmer and more Zen I’ve become since starting Buddhism stuff.  Personally, I find that practicing some of the Buddhist ideologies and incorporating them into my life helps aid in my understanding of DBT skills and leading a Life More Worth Living.  I really enjoy it and it makes me happy.

My Godmother had this tone of deep disappointment and judgement when she started talking about it.  Her voice was one of “I am displeased with such ideas and ventures”.  I’ve come to know this voice well, since I am gay and have very liberal views and she is more conservative.  Okay, she is very conservative.   When I put up the post, I did have some reservations because of the amount of people I know from church being my friends, but disregarded that feeling because I thought that they’d be happy I was finally becoming happy.

I have spent almost my entire life with such severe depression that it was interfering with my day-to-day functioning.  If Buddhism is what is making me feel calmer and happier, I really thought they’d all be okay with it.  Indeed, most of them are.  The only person to say anything negative about it was my Godmother.  Her issue was that it isn’t Jesus Christ’s teachings.  I tried to explain that just because I study something, that doesn’t make me part of that belief system.  It was more about Mindfulness and being in the present and not letting suffering bog me down, not so much adhering to their rules.

I’m not saying that her feelings were wrong.  They are her feelings and I don’t think it’s my or anyone else’s right to dictate how another feels.  I want to convey the pain in my heart that I feel because she wasn’t happy for me.  If one of my friends spent a lifetime suffering and they suddenly found happiness, I’m going to be happy for them unless it’s something that is harmful to themselves or others.  I wouldn’t be upset with them if their beliefs didn’t align with my own.  And I certainly wouldn’t tell them that they were wrong and that it’s Satan’s doing or something like that.  I feel like that would be rude and rather disrespectful.

So, back onto my Godmother.  Yes, she is a crazy church lady.  She is still a Bible thumper.  I am not saying that as a negative aspect.  I think it’s endearing that she’s so passionate about something like that.  I just rather thought she’d be happy for me.  She was there for a lot of the darkest times in my life.  She knew how unhappy and how self-destructive I was in the past.  I honestly believed she would tell me “I’m happy you are happy.  I will love you no matter what, even if I don’t agree with it”.  She did that when I came out of the closet to her.  She even said she’d attend my gay wedding.

When she suddenly brought up the Buddhism thing, it broke my heart.  I took it as her not accepting the thing that brought me happiness because it follows a different path than one she approves of.  Because it’s not her religion, it’s wrong and evil.  I am only buying into the lies the ‘Evil One’ (what she calls Satan) tells.  All this other stuff too.  It was heart breaking and I wanted to cry.  I did manage to change the subject and cool her ire, but the pain is still there, even now, hours later.

I know how controlling she can be.  She is a nice lady.  She is very nice.  She has done a lot for me over the years.  Way more than I feel I deserve.  She’s also rather narcissistic and close-minded and she has this need to be self-righteous all the time.  If I do something awesome for me, like my weight loss, she attributes it to God and Jesus and the power of her prayer.  When she does nice things, she’s always praising herself for her good works and how God told her to do it and she’s so glad she listened, oh look how much holier than thou she is!  It can be maddening.

I don’t know why I still talk to her.  I feel like Boris wasn’t as bad as my Godmother can be.  Boris made me feel guilty about things, like I  was doing something wrong.  My Godmother makes me feel ashamed about things, like I am wrong in my core.  Yes, I know other people can’t force me to feel things.  I suppose the better way of phrasing would be to say that they both said things that caused a negative emotional reaction on my part.

I feel like this entire situation with my Godmother is a great opportunity to practice Wise Mind and Interpersonal Effectiveness skills.  However, I have no idea how to go about it.  It’s something I am going to have to meditate on and discuss with my therapist.  Unfortunately, I don’t see Charon until the 18th.  Suggestions and pieces of advice are welcome and encouraged here.  Support and validation of my feelings and perceptions are also welcome.  I actually would greatly appreciate support and advice on this.

Something that was funny, though, was that the guest Pastor talked about tolerance and non-judgmental behavior and feelings/thoughts towards people of other faiths and beliefs.  It was funny because my Godmother was being judgemental and also because she began talking about how tolerant and non-judgemental she was on the ride home.  She may just be delusional, I’m not positive.

I want to just shout out to my friends Kuma-chan and Mama Bear for supporting me this morning and making me not-so-sad about this situation.  I’m very grateful and very fortunate to have such loving and caring friends.  Even though we don’t have the same beliefs about religious matters, we only care for each other’s happiness and well-being.  That’s how it should be, only wanting others to have a Life More Worth Living, even if it means they follow a different path than you.

From one soul to another soul, I hope you find happiness and that you find peace.  I hope you find your own road to a Life More Worth living and may you ‘see’ others and may others ‘see’ you.

May Love and Zen live in your hearts.

-The Sarcastic Autist

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2 thoughts on “Religion, Relationships, and Joy

  1. Sadly I don’t have much advice on this one. I ended up not going to church anymore because there are too many people like this in my life. They do seem delusional to me when they claim to be tolerant but are quick to tell you how wrong you are for embracing positive aspects of other teachings or for even learning about other teachings.

    How is it wrong to learn about other religions and other cultures? It is the very heart of tolerance if you ask me. To know is to love. You can’t tolerate the things you don’t know, instead you are likely to fear it.

    So all I can say is, if you wish to continue going to church then remember that you are following Christ’s path by learning about and knowing others in your efforts to “see” them as they truly are and appreciate them where they are at. Have compassion for them even if they might hurt your feelings because not everyone is able to understand the things you have come to understand. Maybe in time they will, but it’s not something you can force upon them. All things in their place and time as they say.

    This isn’t to say you allow people to continue to hurt you. You have to have good boundaries like you did with the friend you put your foot down and said she couldn’t treat you like that anymore. But you did it with grace, dignity, and respect. This is important. Just keep in mind that setting boundaries isn’t just for cutting toxic people out of your life but also allows to you define the rules for healthy interactions in relationships.

    I for one am happy that you are finding your path to greater happiness and it is my hope that you allow your light within to shine brightly.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are seriously one of the wisest people I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet, even if it’s only on the web. I’m going to be putting this in my Quote Book as well.
      I think that you are right in that I should have compassion for them. It’s not easy to have come to the conclusions I have. I only did through long sufferings. Everyone deserves compassion and understanding, as I keep saying. Perhaps in time, through patience and compassion, they’ll realize that they are being a bit hateful. Having hate in one’s heart, even a little bit, can cause great suffering and alienation of ‘different’ people. And don’t they say that hate comes from fear?
      I think that if this problem arises with my Godmother again, I will tell her that she has a right to her feelings and I won’t tell her not to be dissapointed in me, but that I am saddened that she can’t bring herself to be happy that I am happy, even if it means I am following a path she doesn’t necessarily approve of.
      You are a very wise person, Toadie. I salute you and wish you well.

      Like

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