Stop being a spiritual jerk.
If you found this blog, you either need to stop being a spiritual jerk or someone has been one to you. How to cope? Want to understand it? Ready to stop doing it to others? Read on.
There’s something spiritual people do and it’s been getting on my nerves. It’s a combination of condescension, victim-blaming, and spiritual bypassing. But it’s rude. People get away with it because they are “being spiritual.”
I’m talking about how when someone is going through a crap time, a “spiritual” person will come along and say The Thing. It’s usually along the lines of, “You are going to have to figure out WHAT YOU ARE DOING to call this into your life.”
Don’t be a Karen. Don’t victim-blame people who are struggling. Do we bring things on ourselves? Do we attract certain things? Of course, we do. We also don’t. We may even be aware of a subconscious pattern and actively trying to change it — but it takes time. So even when we are working on changing ourselves down to our DNA, bad things still happen.
Give people grace, please.
Is it helpful for you to beat up someone for the conditions in their life they are struggling with? No. There are things that are within our control. But this “spiritual” idea to victim blame people for “calling in” or “attracting in” the bad circumstances of their life has got to stop. No one thinks you are SO spiritual and SO conscious for saying this.
Say you are going through a breakup because you — once again — ended up dating someone like your mother. (We’ve all done it). You’re sad and you’re confessing to your friend how heartbroken you are. That’s when she bursts in with, “Well, you are going to have to look deep within and figure out how YOU keep creating these situations in your life.”
Yes, and no.
It’s not the time for the place, first of all. When someone is heartbroken, they just want to be heard, seen, and validated. Don’t pull a Karen on them.
Different example. You’re a mom and your kid has cancer. Your kid’s remission is over, they’ve had a fever for two days, and they are hospitalized. Karen isn’t saying, “Well, you brought this suffering on yourself, you’re going to have to figure out what YOU did to attract this into your life.” No, Karen shuts her mouth because she knows it’s rude.
When someone is going through it, they don’t need to hear that they created it or attracted it. No one attracts cancer, rape, domestic violence, or incest. If your friend is going through years of hard times, be it financial, health, or relationships, STOP crapping all over them with spiritual abuse. Believe me, when we are going through something, we KNOW there is a pattern. But sometimes, there isn’t one. Sometimes it’s just the law of karma and we are working out past-life stuff.
Spiritually mature friends will hold space and listen.
They will allow you to be yourself and experience your range of emotions while you find your way. They don’t blame you, or just tell you “love and light,” then walk away. I call these the “spiritually woke” friends. She’s like Queen Atlanta in the movie “Aquaman,” because she’s wise and knows the right things to say. Atlanta knows it’s her son Arthur’s journey and she holds space for it; she knows when to push him and she knows when to hug him. You can bet Arthur doesn’t feel icky after interacting with his mom. He feels held, supported, and seen.
Don’t be a Karen; be an Atlanta.
Know when to hold space and be silent. Know when to give the hug. Know when to step in because your two sons are about to destroy one another — and the world. OK, it’s one of my favorite flicks. I’m obsessed. But you get the idea.
Be the movie hero — not an internet meme.
I encountered a ton of Karens when I went to 12-step meetings. It’s reasonable to say your life sucks because you smoked drugs, drank booze, went for a drive, crashed the car, and then woke up in jail. But the root cause of addiction for most of us is abuse, trauma, neglect — any stressor. Any trauma. You name it. So while we DO want someone to take responsibility for their mistakes, beating them up for it brings on a situation where no one wins. We were victims who took the blame from the time of childhood — or we wouldn’t have become addicts. You don’t help the hurting when you pull a Karen. Give people support, not blame.
Seriously — if you’re struggling with addiction, get a therapist. Hammer out the root cause of your addiction. Figure out the family-of-origin issues and deal with it. Gain the education and skills you need to get out of the life. There is SO much help out there.
I think this is why the “Karen” form of spiritual bypassing/victim-blaming annoys me so much. As someone who has held space for hundreds of broken people through my experience as a sober coach, I know there is a difference between when you point out to someone that they created their problem and when you hold space for their brokenness without blaming them.
If you’re pulling a Karen on somebody, I know you’ve had it too easy. I know your experience is limited. I know your privilege is high and your connection to spirit is low. I’m also asking you to correct this. Catch yourself before it comes out of your mouth and stop. Just stop. If you’ve done it, apologize.
When it’s said to you, I know it’s hurtful, but you have choices.
You can turn it into a teaching moment but you shouldn’t have to expend emotional labor towards Karen when you’re hurting already. But if your lesson you need to learn is to stand up for yourself, go for it. If your lesson to learn happens to be, “Know when to walk away,” then do that. If you are realizing this person is ALWAYS pushing the victim-blaming button and has NO other skills in their arsenal, maybe just stop hanging around them. Not everyone is meant to walk the entire walk with us.
I pride myself on being a blunt coach but I’m not going to be blunt at your expense. I’m not going to victim blame you or spiritually bypass you. There are times when someone needs me to be blunt. Most of the time, I find there’s a fine line to walk. I know when to be blunt but I know when to shut up, listen, and hold space. It’s the holding space for another’s humanity that makes this world go around.
It’s what I do the majority of the time as a coach.
I never view myself as above my clients like I’m some great teacher or guru who they NEED. You don’t need ME. But you probably need what I can bring to you and it’s something you can’t bring to yourself. I channel it, or facilitate it through a session with you. But it’s me helping YOU to get in touch with it. It’s not about me; it’s about you.
When someone pulls a Karen on you, that’s their ego and lack of experience. They aren’t channeling what you need or facilitating the space you need to heal and grow. They are literally telling YOU what to do and what you NEED.
No one can do that!
No one can tell you what you need to have, do, or be — but you. YOU are the architect of your own destiny. I’m just here to help you make it happen.