Finding Your Spiritual Family
by Semele Xerri
In my healings over recent months the issue of isolation is coming up again and again - people feeling alone, different, as if they don't fit in with their family or the people around them. I can completely empathize with this as it's something I struggled with for many years. I tried to fit in, to make friends within certain groups but it felt like a lot of hard work for very little return. What I finally realized was that I was looking to others for validation, identity, a sense of belonging and even my own happiness. It was never going to work because the only person responsible for all of this was me - I had to find my own centre and source from which all these things could flow effortlessly and abundantly.
In fact, this uncertainty about who I was and lack of centeredness added to my problem. I was trying to be what other people wanted me to be and emulate those around me because I'd never taken the time to work out who I was and what I wanted. When I eventually did, through healing, meditation and spiritual development, the truth was blindingly obvious. I'd been trying to belong to the wrong crowd! The people I'd been working to befriend didn't actually support me, my values, dreams or goals and I had been subjecting myself to their negative comments and energy for far too long. I had been, indeed, a square peg struggling to force myself into a round hole.
The other important thing to remember is that your spiritual family, those to whom you feel you can belong, may not necessarily be who you think they should be. For many, their biological families cannot accept their strangeness and differences from them, wondering where on earth this little alien came from who doesn't think like them or act like them! If this is true for you, then it can be easy to carry forward this feeling of alienation into the rest of your life, focusing on a sense of neglect and lack of support. It can be tempting to fall in with a bad crowd who may give you an immediate sense of belonging but who, in the long run, only strengthen your sense of being an outsider. I'm reminded of Hans Christian Anderson's wonderful story The Ugly Duckling which illustrates this perfectly.
The answer is to find "home" for yourself. First, get to know who you really are, what you love, what you care about, the values you live by, your strengths, your weaknesses, the dreams you want to chase after. Recognize and understand that you need these things - your talents, gifts and limitations - to be acknowledged and accepted and that has to start with you. Immediately, you will gain an inner stability which cannot be knocked or affected by those around you. Then once you know, love, respect and accept yourself, warts and all, go and find the people who can love and respect you in the same way. They are your spiritual family and you will know when you have found them because they will make your life stronger rather than weaker, they will help you to flourish. Limit (or if possible stop completely) the time you spend with people who drain your energy and drag you down.
When you know yourself and are true to yourself, regardless of what other people may tell you, you are working hand in hand with your Soul.