Thursday, June 25, 2015

Tips for Living Wicca: Don't Try to Justify Yourself to Others

As human beings, we crave acceptance. This is not bad; it's part of being a social animal. This is why so many strive to conform to the socially agreed-upon standards, no matter how absurd or screwed up those standards might be. 

Even those who try to argue that they are non-conformists, rebellious, etc. are trying to conform-- they're just trying to conform to the other side of that spectrum. People who paint their hair blue and wear facial piercings, tattoos, outlandish clothes, are very much conforming-- they're conforming with those who rebel against the socially agreed-upon standards. They're trying to impress and fit in with people on the opposite end of the spectrum is all; but they're still on the same spectrum.  

It's back to the law of polarity; all truths are but half truths. Things on opposite ends of the spectrum are just opposite sides of the same coin; they are the same, the difference is only in degrees. 

Because of this, there is this knee-jerk reaction to defend one's religion, to justify one's beliefs. A lot of people will ask, "How do I get my family (friends, partner, co-workers, people at school, community, etc.) to accept my religion?" 

A lot of Wiccans will battle with people in their lives, arguing religion, trying to explain themselves, trying to get the other person to understand and to be tolerant of Wicca. Sometimes these battles are big blow-ups, and sometimes they're just a series of arguments that go on for years and years. And the Wiccan tries to explain himself, tries to get the other person to see his point of view, to understand that Wicca is a good religion.

So how do you get people to accept your religion? Well, the fact of the matter is, you can't. And you should stop trying. 

My Tip for You Today: Don't try to justify yourself to people. You don't have to. It's better if you don't.

Trying to justify yourself may only makes things get worse, not better. This desire for acceptance ends up backfiring on people. You can end up making long speeches, nagging, or challenging other people on their beliefs... challenges they're not ready or willing to face. Most of the time, it's not going to help sway them to see your point of view, it's going to cause them to dig in their heels even deeper.

Trying to push people to accept you is trying to force your viewpoint on them. You may not be trying to force them to practice Wicca, but you're still trying to force a viewpoint on them that is not their own. This can result in the opposite-- you drive people further away. 

When you try to justify Wicca, you run the risk of sounding defensive. People who sound defensive can easily sound guilty to those who disagree with them. You sound like there is actually something that needs defending. Your beliefs don't need defending. 

What you really need is not to try to get others to accept you... you need to practice self-acceptance. When you're truly comfortable with who you are, when you know you're doing the right thing and have made the best choices for yourself, that you're living a life sincerely being true to yourself and your beliefs, you begin to realize that you don't need to justify it to anyone. You don't need to defend it. You don't need others to accept it, you don't need their approval and you don't owe them an explanation-- you only need to demand a certain amount of respect your rights as afforded by law and social contract.

You also need to practice the tolerance and acceptance you preach-- part of which is learning to respect the rights of those who don't accept your religion.

Do you waste too much of your breath trying to justify yourself to others?

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