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3 Reasons You May Not Need A Religion

3 Reasons You May Not Need A Religion

Religion. It’s one of the most controversial topics of all time. While it is true that some people are religious about watching their favorite football team every Sunday, religion in general is used to describe a person’s devotion to the church they attend every week on the same day.

Although attending church can be a source of comfort for many people, it can lead to negative consequences. Religion has torn apart picture-perfect families based on the different interpretations of the “rules.” It is often the root of terrorist attacks, and it’s even been known to start wars.

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By definition, religion means to tie, fasten or bind. It’s human nature for people to search for anchors, balance and clarity; however, when left to the devices of some power-hungry, confused or love-starved leaders, seekers can get bound by man-made laws that lead them astray from the essence of life: love. And while you may already have a laundry list of causes to either embrace or avoid religion, here are three more reasons you may not need a religion after all.

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1. God is love, and love knows no fear.

When you find yourself tied to something, fear can’t help but be present.  Think of the dog tied to a tree all day in the mid-summer heat of Texas. Or the way you’re attached to your conference call and can’t find a way to take that much-needed lunch break. Being bound to a religion is no different when it keeps you from living up to your full potential. If it’s holding you back from loving yourself or others unconditionally, binding everyone to certain judgments and limitations, then it’s opposing the essence of God, which nearly every religion interprets as love. Love sees everything in one color, is no respecter of persons, and doesn’t check bank accounts. It casts out fear and encourages you to become the best version of yourself–making everyone else around you desire to do the same.

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2. Religion can become a god thing.

As the saying goes, “When a good thing become a god thing, it’s a bad thing.” Many times folks end up searching for their identity in religion rather than in the essence of the Creator. They try to earn their way into Heaven by following set rules, alienating those who don’t and losing themselves in the process. While learning about the essence of God is a good thing, pursuing perfectionism can easily become a god thing and therefore turn into a bad thing. Seeking the heart of God rather than rules of religion is the safest way to go about spirituality since everything comes down to the cycle of giving and receiving love.

3. Religion can keep you comfortable.

There are countless numbers of churches worldwide, and the majority of them talk the talk but end up limping along when it comes to walking the walk. While they may teach the necessary feel good stuff that helps move you from a mindset of lack into a space of hope and acceptance, you eventually need to be uncomfortable in order to grow in your faith and in your purpose. Staying comfortable equals staying stuck and fosters the “woe is me” mentality. If you’re not getting fidgety and craving more out of each day than just surviving, then you’re fastened to an old way of thinking that keeps you rooted in fear.  In order to fulfill your destiny–and I know you have one!–you must act as the baby chicken acts and peck your way out of your shell.  Peck through the past and explode into the here and now. Start by taking at just one step in the direction of your passion and then another. If religion is keeping you satisfied playing small and dreaming none, you might need to ditch the religion, take a leap of faith and trust the bridge to your passion will appear as you trust more and fear less.

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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