I’ve been seeing a lot of “supportive” content lately that seems to miss the mark of deep compassion and understanding for our human experience. Many of us are feeling challenged right now, but a lot of “spiritual gurus” seem to think that limitless positivity is the cure. Instead of honoring our natural fears and guiding us through them, these pseudo “enlightened” folks seem to think that simply preaching positivity, to the point of shaming fear as somehow “lesser evolved” or “low vibration”, is going to bring us all the comfort we’re seeking.
In reality, this toxic positivity and spiritual bypassing only adds to our shame – giving us no resources to actually pull ourselves out of fear, and instead suggesting (or outright claiming) that something is wrong with us for feeling these emotions in the first place. Instead of soothing and comforting us, we’re left with the issue even more compounded – and still no solutions to move through it.
The way through fear isn’t to repress and shame it – it’s to recognize it, examine and process it, and work through it. It’s a long process that often takes support – but accepting the fear as natural rather than burying it is the first step!
This phenomenon reminded me of the “faux empowerment” gurus I often see using shaming tactics to sell self-help products. This sleazy tactic plays on our worst fears to make us feel like there’s something wrong with us, only to then show us the “solution” to the problem. Like toxic positivity, these messages use our natural experiences against us, and try to use shame as a tool to influence us – whether that’s shaming us to “just think positive”, buy a self-help program, or some of the worst culprits of all, diet and beauty industry products. These shaming tactics completely miss the mark of true compassion.
As someone in a helping profession myself, the absolute LAST thing we should be doing is shaming people. The key to helping is lifting one another up with tools, not pushing others down who need a helping hand. No one should be saying that there’s anything wrong with you because you’re not operating as your 100% best self at all times, and making you feel bad about yourself isn’t helping you. It’s only helping them to shame you into buying their products.
As we’re navigating through this challenging time, be mindful of the media you’re consuming and critical of the “spiritual” or “self-help gurus” you’re following. Are they truly practicing the compassion, understanding, and love that they preach? Do their messages actually lift you up? Or do they make you feel worse about yourself?
Unfollow anyone whose self-improvement content has a negative tone or who makes you feel ashamed or embarrassed because you’re struggling. Believe in people whose work you respect – not just content creators with a lot of followers, and definitely not anyone trying to capitalize on your fear or making you feel like something broken that needs to be fixed.
I dove deeper into this topic in my latest Patreon post – Trust your gut, not your “guru”
If my work has supported you, come join my community there! Your support helps create all the content here and on @sluttygrlprobs. I’m beyond deeply grateful for you!
BTW – I pulled together all my favorite self-care rituals that I’ve used to find comfort and support in some of my most difficult moments in this podcast. I hope you’ll find them helpful as well!