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  • Deah Curry PhD

The Heartache of Being a Spiritual Black Sheep

Human beings crave a sense of belonging. There is something built into our psyches that yearns to feel connected to something larger than ourselves. For our highest well-being, we need to feel valued within a group. This is why extended families and religious communities can play such a powerful role in our lives. ​​​​But when the family you grow up in adheres to a religion that just doesn’t feel right to you, it’s painful, confusing, and sometimes even dangerous to voice your disagreements with their beliefs. Not only can you become ostracized and maligned by the faith community, you can also actually become emotionally or literally abandoned by parents, grandparents, siblings, and other other family members. ​​While differences in spiritual traditions can provide a rich inter-cultural experience within families and groups of friends, these differences can also be a source of conflict, fear, misunderstanding and other breakdowns in relationships. And when you are the only one adhering to a difference of viewpoint of belief, it can feel quite isolating if not judgmental and threatening. ​​This is what it’s like to be the black sheep in the family because of a difference in spiritual practices and values. ​ And it’s heart-wrenching.

Healing Spiritual Heartache

Steps to healing the heartache of being trapped in a religious community that’s become toxic to you might include:

  • Doing a meditative retreat to begin to articulate your own natural beliefs

  • Visiting the services of other faith traditions

  • Reading the sacred texts of other religions

  • Interacting with an online spiritual community

  • Declining to discuss or argue over the beliefs you can’t agree with

  • Exploring the idea of developing your private set of spiritual practices

​​The internet provides a rich source of information about a multitude of ways to conceptualize the Sacred. Find communities that provide education on belief systems that are new to you. Request my spiritual seekers guide from the form on the home page and save yourself a lot of time. Take some coaching or spiritual path counseling to gain insight, wisdom and answers to your specific questions. ​​Most of all, keep an open mind as you explore. ​​Don’t be in a hurry to substitute a new spirituality for the religious affiliation you are leaving. Test what you encounter with your heart, mind, body, and spirit to get the best match with your soul’s desires.

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