So you’ve gotten too big for your “spiritual closet.” At this point, it may even be PAINFUL for you to keep your mouth shut when someone mocks something of your experience or beliefs.
But you’re nervous.
What happens when you come out of the spiritual closet? What will people think? How will people act?
The fact is that someone is always going to judge you no matter who you are or where you live – and that is ALL about THEM and NOTHING to do with YOU.
And despite this, it’s still important to come out and own who you are. Doing this can transform your life for the better.
If you’re on the fence about this or want some reassurance, this post is for you. I’m sharing what happened to me when I came out (about a few things), why accepting yourself is essential to this process (and how to practice self-acceptance), what to expect from the more religious people in your life, as well as frequently asked questions.
Note: This is an ENORMOUS post on coming out of the spiritual closet. I suggest bookmarking it for reference later as well as reading the different linked posts to gain the most you can from this! And of course, if you’re here, BIG HUGS! This is a big deal and I’m sending you SO MUCH love and light in this process!
What Happened When I Came Out (The Big Three)
CW: Brief references to sexual assault and rape.
While I’m an intuitive and that’s the biggest part of who I am (a dominant identity you might say) it’s not the only thing I had to come out about.
We come out for all kinds of things in all kinds of places and times. For some, it might be coming out as a fan of a rival football team (think: college football in the South). For others it’s much more serious and life-threatening (think: coming out as transgender in a conservative area).
I’ve actually had three big “coming out” moments in my life. The first one was when I came out as dating both men and women (Note: I don’t usually call myself “bi” because it feels constrictive.). That was surprisingly anti-climatic because my parents are super accepting and I lived in a very liberal area. It was “no thing.”
The second time I came out was more stigmatized – it had to do with me coming out about being molested as a child and then raped as an adult. Even though I have always been in progressive spaces, this particular issue was not talked about when I was in high school and college.
When I came out about these events it was nearly as traumatic as the experience itself because of the cold way people acted toward me. By them not believing me or denying my truth, it ended up caused serious social fractures. I learned not to trust many people whom I had called friends. It extremely painful (If you want to read more about this and how I dealt with it, you can check out my book here).
The third time I came out was of course the most GLORIOUS of all coming outs – it was, you guessed it, me owning my intuitive abilities and spirituality! It was the best feeling. More than anything else, I felt shame around this issue and held fear of judgment. Once I was open about myself in this arena, it felt like I was really me. I no longer cared what other people thought.
Keep in mind, I already had the other two experiences – the non-reaction, and then the adverse reaction.
I already knew the range of possibilities – I could get laughs, shrugs, or attacks. But it didn’t matter because I NEEDED to be me. I needed to own this to feel free of shame, so I was willing to take whatever reaction came. And I knew it was right as soon as I did it, because it felt sooooo freakin’ good!
To get to the place where you’re actually able to speak your truth about your spirituality and or gifts, you need to feel comfortable with yourself. In short, you need to accept you.
You don’t need to accept you completely yet but you do need to accept most of yourself. At the very least you need to accept your spirituality and abilities if those are present. If you don’t, coming out of the spiritual closet may be an exercise in EXTREME masochism.
This is because if you haven’t gotten to a comfortable place with yourself and you face an adverse reaction from others, it can send you into a terrible place. You may feel worthless, ashamed, guilty, angry, or even hateful.
For that reason… Please. Don’t. Do. That. EVER!
But what if you haven’t fully accepted yourself? What are you supposed to do?
Fortunately there are a TON of resources here that you can use to get more comfortable and accepting of yourself and your abilities. To get started, I’d recommend checking out the following blog posts:
- You Need Guides and Community – this will help as you go through your journey.
- Get Unstuck with Radical Acceptance – in this post you’ll be able to gain some practices to feel better about yourself and gain momentum.
- Appreciating Our Miraculous Bodies – while not specifically about spirit, this can help you transform areas and begin building momentum around acceptance of where you are in your journey.
- How to Declutter Spirit & Heal for Good – this post will give you different practices to gain a greater sense of acceptance for yourself by transforming things you have in your past.
Coming Out v. Flaunting
Being out is not the same thing as rubbing someone’s face in it.
If you have someone in your life you HAVE to interact with (like a boss or close family member) who can’t handle openly talking about your spirituality, you don’t HAVE to talk about it. You can tell them in different ways to the extent they are able to manage the truth.
This way you are still honoring yourself without jeopardizing your relationships and comfort.
For example, at work it may not make sense to talk about your spirituality, so you don’t really need to worry about that. Your grandmother doesn’t need to know about your sacral chakra being off that week. At the bridal shower for your friend you don’t need to whip out your tarot cards or your pendulum.
It’s okay to NOT talk about every little aspect of your life with every single person (says the intuitive life coach from her blog). Sometimes it’s okay to just stick to small talk.
Each situation is unique. You know yours best. Use your judgment and intuition when it comes to sharing different parts about who you are. Make sure you are doing things that best align with your highest good.
Musical Chairs with Friends and FamilyIf someone isn’t able to love you for your whole self, then you don’t want them around. Click To Tweet
Whenever you reveal a major truth about yourself there are tectonic shifts and some of those happen in your social circles.
You may lose some people. It’s true. As I’ve said before and I’ll say again – they are just showing their true colors. This is good to know so you can take the right actions for you. Generally speaking, the people you lose will be the ones you really don’t want present.
If someone isn’t able to love you for your whole self, then you don’t want them around. This is because they will constantly send you judgmental and negative energy. It takes a toll! So if someone is leaving because they can’t handle who you are, then let them leave. Grieve. And move on.
BUT… everyone won’t leave. In fact, you might find coming out brings people closer.
Yep. It’s true.
People will come out of the woodwork owning their spirituality when you come out about yours. They may not have shared with you before because they were as afraid as you were. Once you come out, however, they feel emboldened to share. Finally! They have someone to TALK TO!
Others may come to you voicing curiosity about your spirituality or intuitive gifts. This is a gentle tolerance bordering on acceptance.
They may not be as into these things as you are, but they’re open to listening and learning. Love these people because they are maybe the most awesome – being able to bridge that gap of experience is hard. They value you a lot to want to do that.People will come out of the woodwork owning their spirituality when you come out about yours. Click To Tweet
When Spirituality Is Your Work
This is a toughie because inevitably the first questions Americans always ask is “So what do you do?”
Blinks. Nervous laughs.
You can take a few different tacts.
There’s always the option to come right out and own yourself: I’m a reiki master. I’m a psychic. Etc…
But there’s also the gentler option: I’m an entrepreneur. I’m a business person. I’m in guidance. These are closeted responses, so I’d urge you, if you’re REALLY coming out to JUST SPEAK YOUR TRUTH but… I know there are times and places where it may not work well to do that.
I’ve done both. There’s been times when I’ve just said, “I’m an intuitive life coach.” Usually this piques interest and I get a TON of questions. I never use the word psychic (I explain why here) but when I talk about my abilities I don’t shy away from the words clairvoyant, clairsentient, claircognizant, shamanic journeying, or medium. For me lying about myself is really abhorent, so I prefer to be honest about things.
Early on in my coming out process there were times I would emphasize life coach or entrepreneur. It took me a while to get comfortable saying the phrase intuitive life coach. Until I fully accepted myself, I struggled with that phrase.
Once I TRULY accepted myself, it was easy.
The Thing About Religion and “Coming Out”
Now you might wonder how this all goes down when you’re religious or come from a religious family.
This is the MOST COMMON question I get about this stuff. “How can I come out when X person is super religious?” “What will happen when my church finds out?!”
I’ll be honest. Sometimes it’s crazy.
Some people, especially the ones who are Christian, will think you’re a witch (not necessarily) or demonic (definitely not!), or maybe they’re seeking someone who can rid them of demons (uh…really?).
There’s a weird preoccupation with negative spiritual energy in Christian, especially conservative, circles.
It’s totally unhealthy AND a reflection of those people’s mindset.
SO if you find yourself the focal point of some seriously black and white thinking, take a breath.
Here is where the lesson from my second coming out experience can help you: it MIGHT be painful, but you will know who your friends are. See it as a kind of culling. The truth is, if that person isn’t able to love you as you TRULY are, then you probably don’t want them in your life.
If a church community can’t love you as you are, then they’re probably not the right place for you anyway. Staying there would be toxic.
So if you get a negative reaction, it is still a good thing because now you know what you need to do (see above section on friends and family!).If a church community can’t love you as you are, then they’re probably not the right place for you anyway. #spirituality #acceptyourself Click To Tweet
Answering Religious People’s Questions
When you come out people ask you super weird questions. This is a thing – and it doesn’t matter WHAT you’re coming out about.
Expect when you’re coming out in religious circles that you’ll get your share of weird questions. Part of this has to do with a nasty history between the Church and Wise Women (a few million women murdered anyone?).
To this day many people won’t let their kids read Harry Potter because it’s got magic in it.
Here’s my typical run down:
What do you think prophets were? Where were they getting their messages from? How were they talking to angels? To God? Where did all those visions come from? [Typically I let people answer these questions, if not just think about them for a minute.]
All gifts, whether intuitive or not, take on the character of their use. So yes, some intuitives might use their gifts in negative or unhealthy ways. But if someone is using their gifts from a place of love, that is ABSOLUTELY in line with the message of Jesus, who Christians believe is God’s revelation to humanity.
I use my gifts from love. I have ZERO doubt about being aligned with God/Source/the Universe.
That is the basic explanation I give. But because people DO ask more questions and it may be helpful to get an idea of how to respond, read on for my most frequently asked questions!When you come out of the spiritual closet, people ask you super weird questions. #spirituality #radicalacceptance Click To Tweet
Frequently Asked Questions
The following is a list of common questions I receive from budding intuitives and spiritual creatives, but also there are some I get from religious types. No matter what your concern, these should be helpful as you move along your spiritual path.
Are you Christian?
Uh… yes and no. I’m Baptist – the nice thing about Baptists is we can believe whatever the eff we want and no one can tell us otherwise (so long as we’re sticking to the four fragile freedoms). In a single church you can have fundamentalists to atheists and they all agree to love each other and work together.
I don’t and can’t ascribe to any of the “creeds.” Frankly, I think they’re bullshit.
However I love Jesus’ message of love, which is to my understanding, the central goal of all major religions and the highest goal of what it means to be human.
What do you do?
I have the full range of intuitive abilities. For more details about my spiritual journey and what all is involved, it’s best to read this post here.
What is all this crystal stuff about?
I have a complete blog post on crystals you can read here, but in short, everything has energy. An intuitive can read that energy and use it as a tool. It is, however, just a tool.
What about chakras?
All major religious traditions have some truth in them because they are all pushing us to become our ideal selves and living from a place of unconditional love. Chakras – or specific energy centers of the body and spirit – are first observed in the Hindu tradition (and as such are used in Buddhism as well). We absolutely have energy centers and anyone who spends any time with meditation or healing work observes this regularly. It doesn’t counter anything in Christianity.
What about tarot, oracle cards, runes, or pendulums?
These, like crystals, are just tools. Unlike crystals however, it doesn’t take much effort to use these tools. They are simply ways to communicate with your subconscious mind and explore different paths to resolving problems. They are not deities or spirits or any such thing (although a medium COULD use them to work with Spirit if they chose, the tools themselves are NOT inherently connected to Spirit).
Does someone who is spiritual always have intuitive gifts?
No. Not necessarily. And just because someone is intuitive does NOT mean they follow an interspiritual, witchy, or New Agey path. And the opposite is also true. Each person is ultimately their own person on their unique journey.
Can someone go to religious services and still follow some of this stuff?
Um, YES! Of course! I go to church regularly! I sing in the worship band, so uh, YEAH! 😀
Do you have a community?
Yes and no. I go to church. I have a LOT of online spaces where I connect with intuitives and other spiritual types. Unfortunately I have not yet found an IRL community that I like. Part of this has to do with the wide variety of practices and understandings that get lumped together. The reality is that an intuitive can be anything. A spiritual seeker can pull from all sorts of different belief systems.
If I were looking for a welcoming church, where should I look?
Each individual church has their own flavor because it reflects the people present. Within the more mainline Church, you might try United Church of Christ or the Disciples of Christ. There are few other mainline churches that may have welcoming streaks (Episcopal, Presbyrterian, Baptist etc) but you’ll want to research them before visiting.
There is also the Unitarian Universalists, who are technically a church, but they are not Christian. They’re something else.
Also for a smaller community, you could check out the Spiritualists. They have strong beliefs around daily Spiritual interaction (intuitive abilities, mediumship etc), so if you want a space that includes that, it’s a good option.
What about other religious communities?
Hinduism and Buddhism heavily influence new age systems, so these are good options for deeper understanding and exploration. Yoga is techinically a philosophy of Hinduism, so if you’re already practicing this, you’re well on your way! Meditation is something central to Buddhism, so this will be a good place to go if you want to further develop that practice.
Both Judaism and Islam have mystical sects, but are best for those who like firmer boundaries and structure. I don’t have as much direct experience with these so I can’t speak to how they work for people.
As to woo-woo, New Thought, or witch communities, I can’t say what they’re like. What I would recommend is doing your research and seeing if it resonates with you.
There are tribal traditions across the world and many of them have a LOT of space for intuitive gifts (shamans etc). If you do pursue this path, I recommend going with the tradition that most closely represents YOUR cultural background. Should you decide to explore a different tradition, tread lightly and with great humility.
Does it get easier to talk about these things?
Yes and no. The more a person talks about their abilities and or beliefs, the easier it is to talk about them. There is always a coming out whenever you’re talking about something stigmatized. Psychic abilities are stigmatized, as are a lot of individualistic spiritual practices. Whenever you meet someone new and talk about yourself, you will need to decide how much you want to say and when.
Despite, Come Out of the Spiritual Closet Anyway.
Even though coming out of the spiritual closet is hard, you should still do it. You should do it because until you do, you can never fully accept yourself.
Staying in the closet about something that touches a huge part of your life is a flashing neon sign pointing to shame. And shame is one of the messiest feelings a person can experience. It is, literally, the worst.
Rather than be ruled by something like this, it’s better to embrace who you are and everything that means. Then and only then can you be completely free.
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- Spiritual Mamas: Intuition, Spirituality, and Motherhood - June 4, 2018
- Neither Selfish or Selfless – Only Loving! - April 30, 2018