Unless you have been living under a rock, by now you probably saw the resurgence of spirituality or "mindfulness" popping up in every corner. In a way, it's a healthy sign that nowadays people have the luxury to afford a little bit of time for their own mind. But there's an itch that I can't just get rid of and my cynical brain makes the best of it - it's the fact more and more people are weaponizing the idea of spirituality to gaslight others and get rid of any kind of accountability.
There's been an uptick of self-love, me-me-me, "value yourself"-type motivational posts in social media and unsurprisingly, most of those users posting them are very self-absorbed. Look, I understand and appreciate the value in prioritizing yourself and taking care of yourself but you shouldn't do that while completely disregarding others. The cliched "we live in a society" echoes very true in this respect, especially if you want to live in a society. It is fine to not care about what others think but then it should also be fine for others to not care about what you think. But by continuously practicing this mindset, we run the risk of creating this isolated personality within us that makes it more and more difficult to interact with each other. And to fill up this void, we resort back to social media Likes for acknowledgement from others.
It's a vicious feedback loop.
weaponizing the idea of spirituality to gaslight others and get rid of any kind of accountability
Some people use the idea of spirituality for scapegoating and not taking any accountability for their actions. It's that idea of "offense is never given; it's always taken". I personally dislike this phrase since it conveniently leaves out one big context - intention. Conveniently because you can never be 100% sure of one's intention. For example, I have seen and personally experienced people poking you until they get a reaction out of you. And when you do react, the blame is quickly shifted onto you. Or even worse, the holier-than-thou attitude of "we are both wrong". Like no, there is a clear proof of you intentionally offending somebody. So no, we are not both wrong. You are wrong.
Forgive me for these dumb wordplays but I enjoy them :)
Of course you cannot talk about spirituality without broaching the subject of compassion. Compassion is never wrong. In fact, it's my personal belief that the very first instinct of any living being is compassion and kindness. We just learned how to suppress it real fast and instead replace the feeling with anger and vagueness.
In the West, I observed that a lot of Eastern teachings about compassion and kindness have been misinterpreted and packaged into promoting individuality.
"Be Kind to yourself".
"Don't be harsh on yourself".
These are only some examples that I have seen being repeated again and again all over the Internet. Again, nothing wrong with the advice but there is definitely a line of too much self-love that you shouldn't cross. Too much self-love can give you a tunnel vision of what you think is going on vs what is actually going on around you. I don't believe compassion should be used as a tool to better one self. Use compassion to not become a better person but a better member of the community.
You shouldn't show compassion to others to feel better about yourself. You shouldn't be kind to others so that they are kind to you. It's not about you. You don't think about being compassionate; you just do it.
Time and time again, it feels like modern spirituality is being used as a tool to clear one's conscience. To rid of one's accountability.
I just wish I didn't feel this way. Don't need to be mindful; just be.
You don't think about being compassionate; you just do it.