It can be really challenging to accept that someone else’s beliefs are also valid if they contradict your own. Whether or not you have a spiritual path it is probably important to you. With the challenging political atmosphere around us, it is all the more important to be open to supporting others on their terms and learn about their beliefs so we can all continue to walk our paths in peace.
My personal spiritual path is different than a good number of you. I expect that I need to learn information from a person to know how to speak to them with minimal offence. I try to be gentle with offering pieces of my beliefs to others and instead hope to live by example. It can be hard when not everyone does this in return. It can unintentionally hurt someone when you share pieces of your own spiritual path. Even if it is something that would support you, it may harm others. Being aware of this is one piece of showing acceptance to others of their own paths.
There is no majority religion of the world, nor of the United States. At any time you may be somewhere and not be in the majority with your spiritual path. There is always a level of discomfort with this. The same thing happens with race, culture, gender expression, and sexual orientation. Accepting that someone is always uncomfortable is another step in supporting all paths. You would want the space to be safe if you were the one that felt uncomfortable. What can you do to offer a safe space for everyone?
When in doubt, when a spiritual topic comes up, I often will ask for clarity. Even if I have some knowledge on a topic, that does not mean that I understand what it means to that individual. Not only does this help me in understanding how to support someone, it also allows the other individual to feel heard and supported. Being open to learn about different spiritual paths has helped me to realize the needs of others. I do not have to believe the information myself but understanding it has reduced my need to combat others and allow me to feel more comfortable around individuals of other paths.
I am sure I am not the only one that now wants to say ‘I wish they would give me that same honor when I treat them with respect.’ I take great pride in supporting others of spiritual paths different to my own. Being an example of right action honors my own path and I hope that over time my example will guide the individuals I interact with to providing the same honor and respect to others. I hope you will consider this as well.
Jillian Carnrick, founder and manager of The Dancing Herbalist, has a Masters of Science Degree in Herbal Medicine, practices as a nutritionist, is a first degree initiate at Four Quarter’s Interfaith Sanctuary, and is a Certified Personal Trainer and Exercise Is Medicine Professional through the American College of Sports Medicine. Join her for live classes and The Dancing Herbalist’s home herbalist courses online for more learning opportunities.