Just last week, I was having one of those random late night conversations with my boss and a coworker about religion. My boss is Roman Catholic and my coworker is Atheist, so I like to play the field by saying “I’m not religious, I’m spiritual”, which I know is a cop out, but is also truly how I feel. Well, we started to talk about an afterlife. My boss, who isn’t a regular church goer, mentioned to me about baptizing my 6 month old babies, to which the coworker laughed “ You don’t really believe in that do you?” Now, here’s where things got sticky. I was raised Roman Catholic, but as an adult, like many people I know, kind of realized that there were great things as well as shitty parts about religion. Sure, I’d love to be one of those people that just has blind faith and just believes, but I can’t simply do that. As my fiancé says, “ Make Science Great Again”! I can’t reconcile religion against scientific discoveries. However, I hadn’t thought about baptizing my babies because it hadn’t come up in conversation at home. Had my wonderful grandmother, a Presbyterian reverend, still been alive I would have had her baptize them as she had done to me, but now I had to make a choice for my children. What does an agnostic person do? What does any person do? How do we keep our souls clean in this day and age?
For my twins, I think it will be easy to keep them pure if they have equal parts love and nurture to equal parts realness. It may be unwise, but I think they’ll be fine. I worry more about people my age dealing with an uncertain world, battling anxiety and depression. How do we keep ourselves feeling clean in a world where most things make you feel so damn dirty? In the past month, I’ve done quite a bit of deep meditating and in doing so have found I have six things that really help release the darkness that looms overhead that can be done as a religious or nonreligious person.
1. Taking A Break From Social Media
It’s so hard to put the phone down sometimes. And god forbid if you leave it somewhere and have to go without it! When you really break down what you actually do on your phone, if you’re like most people, it’s not much more than scrolling and tapping with a little bit of typing here and there. We’ve become so trained to look for likes that it interferes with our day-to-day interactions. I finally realized how detrimental my phone use had been after I had been up taking care of my twins for 21 hours straight and instead of falling asleep, I was scrolling Instagram. That was the final straw for me. I decided that every night I would limit my cellphone use to just one hour. Since implementing this rule, I’ve been more level headed and been able to think clearer and faster. I feel less dependent on my phone and as a result, feel more connected to my family, my friends and most importantly, myself.
2. Cutting Ties With Toxic People (Especially Family)
This one is self-explanatory. Getting rid of the people that put us down is one of the most empowering things you could do for yourself in 2018. Sometimes, especially dealing with family members, it’s easier said than done. Truly cutting ties with family can be hard when you may be dependent on them, emotionally and or financially. However, the moment you liberate yourself from someone that doesn’t want to see you succeed, a huge weight is lifted from your shoulders. Whether it’s something as simple as not faking nice or taking a stand to support yourself, the end result is always the same- uplifting positivity.
3. Forgiving Yourself For Fucking Up
How many times have you beaten yourself up for something you can’t change? You know, those moments when your brain remembers something you had thought you repressed and you literally have to shout it out of your head? More often than not, we have a hard time forgiving ourselves for trivial things. Once we realize that everyone makes mistakes and that there’s nothing wrong with letting the past stay in the past, we can start living a happier, less stressful life.
4. Being Real With Yourself
Perhaps the hardest step on this list, being realistic with yourself is the best thing you can do to keep yourself grounded. Most of us would be more likely to put ourselves down than to lift ourselves up. The truth is that life can be hard and throw you curve balls. It’s up to you to believe in yourself but also be honest. We live in a world where everyone wants to be famous and it’s acceptable behavior to document every waking moment of your life. That makes it harder for the average human to really be honest. Instead of posting that staged picture on Instagram, we should appreciate the present for what it really is and not try to force ourselves to be something we’re not.
5. Absolutely Pouring Positivity
I’ve been accused of being disgustingly positive by many people. I think it may be due to the fact we’re so conditioned to come together as people over our grievances as opposed to our triumphs. Those who commiserate over their troubles are more likely to attract more negativity. On the other hand, positivity is contagious. When a stranger shares a nice smile with you, you automatically smile back. Starting each day positively is easier said than actually done. Of course, life happens and can change our moods depending on what is thrown at us. A day can start out wonderfully and end in calamity. How we choose to react to those changes can really dictate exactly where we head in life. Keeping the “glass is always half full” mentality helps you to aim for success as opposed to aiming for failure, heartbreak and negative repetition.
6. Treating Others How We Want To Be Treated
Yeah, straight out of almost every religion you can think of! Treat people with kindness. It’s easy, it’s free, it makes you feel better about yourself and may also change your whole world outlook. It doesn’t take anything to be kind to someone. I’m not talking about going out of your way to do things, no. This is as easy as holding a door open for someone or lending your skills to someone in need. On a big scale, this is about karma. Some might argue karma doesn’t exist, but I definitely beg to differ. It may not be as simple as whatever you do comes back to you times three, but I do believe that energy does surround us and if you’re sending out kindness, genuine kindness, good things will find you.
Basically all of these little small things add up to make big difference. I’m not worried about my children or their generation; I’m more worried about ours because children learn from the adults in their lives. By making little adjustments to ourselves for the better, we’re giving everyone a better chance for an improved, cleaner, and happier life. Isn’t that what the goal is anyway?
written by Alyson Claire
Veronica "Wildchild" and her sister Alyson are the writing duo behind Wildchild Society's blogs..