Looking for strategies to help cope with reality.
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
02-10-2012, 06:02 PM
Looking for strategies to help cope with reality.
Up until last night, I had never actually grieved losing my faith...in fact deep down I feel it still hasn't hit me properly, but last night some of it hit me.
I am really struggling to describe it, but it's like there is a point when you realise that you are absolutely alone. There isn't a God to love you when you feel like a failure. There isn't someone there to tell you things are going to be okay. And then there is Jesus...the guy who loved you so much and can transform your heart...not real.
Personally, my belief in God got me through a lot, there were times when I felt that I would not have survived if I had not have believed in God.

The reality is that I haven't really developed the skills to cope with tough situations...I feel that emotionally I'm a bit behind because of using God as a crutch for so long.

Now it dawns on me that, emotionally, God has to die...all that love and security and faith that I got from God...everything that got me through...that is going to die. And that is one of the most painful realisations for me. But it is time to grow up.

The real practical problem that presents itself is...What strategies am I going to learn to deal with the situations where in the past I used God?
The other question I have is:
In what ways can I discover beauty, inspiration and passion without God?

Does anyone have any thoughts on this? What has worked for you?
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes amav.eram's post
02-10-2012, 06:36 PM
RE: Looking for strategies to help cope with reality.
I'm sorry your grieving is taking it's toll on you, Amav.

Falling prey to an 'Ah-hah moment' is not uncommon. I can only draw from my personal experience, but hopefully it would help you gain some clarity on the situation.

It felt like I a door shutting itself on me. I felt down, crazy, stupid, and alone, from several directions. I questioned myself constantly, and grew to be negative towards myself.

When coming to this site, a friend told me that one shouldn't be hard on themselves, for something they previously believed in. The door started to creak open.

When it came to god, it felt like losing a best friend. Clinical as it may seem, I had to analyze things. It was too close to me. I had to take a step back and once I was past the big hurdles of the grief, I looked at the situation with a new set of eyes.

If I took god out of the equation, what love did I connect with? Was it that of family? Friends? Wonderful experiences that I knew I shouldn't take for granted? Slowly but surely, I found that the experiences I went through and those whom I surrounded myself with where the connection I previously attributed to god.

It was like tilting your head upside down, looking at the world, for a bit. It still feels like that sometimes, but I'm able to realize that there is so much more to this world, to this life, and to me, than what religion or god could offer me. Some may see things the way I do, others may not. I didn't allow the concept of god or that of what religion place a barrier between those whom I love. And when I went through an experience where it became so, I allowed the barrier to exist, because I knew they were grieving the only way they knew how.

Our psyche is a precious thing that should be taken with care. I understand it's one of the most difficult things to go through. Please know that you're not alone, and that several, who haven't gone through your exact experience, still understand it to a degree. Grief is about loss. It is the human condition to lose something. But the key is to know you've always got something to help you keep on going, and to utilize it. Thanks for sharing, Amav. Hug

[Image: 3d366d5c-72a0-4228-b835-f404c2970188_zps...1381867723]
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 4 users Like cheapthrillseaker's post
02-10-2012, 07:27 PM
RE: Looking for strategies to help cope with reality.
First let me say "bravo!" For it may not feel like it now, but in the very moment you wrote those words, Amav, you displayed great courage. You showed your commitment to reality, regardless of its challenges.

First let me address your question about beauty.... Do you truly think you are incapable of recognizing it? Was nothing to you beautiful before except the [invisible] face of God? And if God's face was invisible, surely you were able to see through it, to the more amazing beauty of this world? You have it in you, Amav; I'm sure you do. Wink

The coping mechanisms are harder...I actually started to love and affirm myself years before embracing atheism, so losing God's acceptance wasn't a big deal. But I do sometimes miss just having someone, anyone, to turn to on a moment's notice, who will just unconditionally listen and understand. Think of how you are with your loved ones--no doubt you do your best to take the time to listen; and you try to understand but you might not always get it. Those "imperfections" don't make you any less of a friend...and maybe as time goes by you'll see that certain friends, while not "perfect" in understanding or advice, are still the perfect friends to turn to when you need a pick-me-up.

Be gentle with yourself. You'll come out alright....

~Valerie

Drinking Beverage Grab a cuppa' joe; sit-n-read my blog for a spell: www.vaweber.wordpress.com
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Percepticon's post
02-10-2012, 08:42 PM
RE: Looking for strategies to help cope with reality.
As the above ladies have posted, you will be okay. Their advice is sound Smile

I have never really been religious (as my parents weren't) but as I've aged the hardest part of being atheist was the 'after death' thing. I didn't want to think that there was nothing after life...but now I'm just fine with it and the people on TTA have definitely helped me with that. It's a great place! I hope it does the same for you Thumbsup

Other than that try some weed Big Grin

Humankind Dodgy (a total misnomer)
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes aurora's post
02-10-2012, 11:05 PM
RE: Looking for strategies to help cope with reality.
It's so good you are recognized the grieving aspect of losing faith, it will help to put feelings into perspective. It may take time.

My biggest piece of advice would be to learn and armour yourself with as much education that you can, it will help. It will help the process of understanding and forming explanations in things and bring comfort. It will also empower you.

Also, find a support system. Many people here find this place a very good support system, and it's also good to have more than one.

I hope things become less overwhelming for you soon. Smile
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes LadyJane's post
03-10-2012, 04:06 AM
RE: Looking for strategies to help cope with reality.
(02-10-2012 06:36 PM)cheapthrillseaker Wrote:  If I took god out of the equation, what love did I connect with? Was it that of family? Friends? Wonderful experiences that I knew I shouldn't take for granted? Slowly but surely, I found that the experiences I went through and those whom I surrounded myself with where the connection I previously attributed to god.

It was like tilting your head upside down, looking at the world, for a bit. It still feels like that sometimes, but I'm able to realize that there is so much more to this world, to this life, and to me, than what religion or god could offer me. Some may see things the way I do, others may not. I didn't allow the concept of god or that of what religion place a barrier between those whom I love. And when I went through an experience where it became so, I allowed the barrier to exist, because I knew they were grieving the only way they knew how.

I admit, being hard on myself is a big thing. The wierd thing is that while I was reading your post, I started to realize how as a Christian I was really judgemental toward non-Christians...and I'm wondering if some of what i'm feeling means that I can take a critical look at my attitudes (very liberating)
I definitely feel down, crazy, stupid and alone like you mentioned...but the funny thing is those feelings are not really based in anything....so I really get what you are saying about analysing things...

Yes now that I think about it this is just like standing on my head and looking at the world...I am actually feeling a bit disoriented. The thought makes me giggle a bit as I remember how as children we used to stand on our heads for fun. :-)

Aside from all the emotion, I feel I am in a place where I am better prepared to think of other people...as you say, it is the connection with people that is so important, and I feel the most important thing now is to act in a way that is of benefit to others...whereas as a Christian I could indulge in the thought that I was God's favorite (actually a teaching in modern evangelical circles).

I can really connect with your experience...that helps so much, and to realize that I am not crazy, so thanks for sharing. I hope to get to know all of you here on TTA over time better.
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes amav.eram's post
03-10-2012, 05:10 AM
RE: Looking for strategies to help cope with reality.
(02-10-2012 07:27 PM)Percepticon Wrote:  First let me say "bravo!" For it may not feel like it now, but in the very moment you wrote those words, Amav, you displayed great courage. You showed your commitment to reality, regardless of its challenges.

First let me address your question about beauty.... Do you truly think you are incapable of recognizing it? Was nothing to you beautiful before except the [invisible] face of God? And if God's face was invisible, surely you were able to see through it, to the more amazing beauty of this world? You have it in you, Amav; I'm sure you do. Wink

The coping mechanisms are harder...I actually started to love and affirm myself years before embracing atheism, so losing God's acceptance wasn't a big deal. But I do sometimes miss just having someone, anyone, to turn to on a moment's notice, who will just unconditionally listen and understand. Think of how you are with your loved ones--no doubt you do your best to take the time to listen; and you try to understand but you might not always get it. Those "imperfections" don't make you any less of a friend...and maybe as time goes by you'll see that certain friends, while not "perfect" in understanding or advice, are still the perfect friends to turn to when you need a pick-me-up.

Be gentle with yourself. You'll come out alright....

~Valerie

Thanks so much Valerie, you have just opened my eyes on this subject.
I actually had assumed that I was a bad person for not being perfect...time to let myself off of that hook.
I think I had my logic in reverse on the topic of beauty: My thinking was that things were beautiful because God was in them.
When I turn the logic around and consider that actually I was only inclined to believe in a God in order to explain the beauty it makes more sense.

As for the other coping mechanisms...a big thing that I still struggle with is that when I was younger I went through a traumatic house-fire....so for me Christianity in a big way was an attempt to heal or at least escape...and I honestly did feel that the love and community that I found in my church helped.

Now that God is gone, it kind of feels like ripping the band-aid off...and tbh I actually am not sure what is in there because I haven't taken a look for so long.
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes amav.eram's post
03-10-2012, 05:24 AM
RE: Looking for strategies to help cope with reality.
(02-10-2012 11:05 PM)LadyJane Wrote:  It's so good you are recognized the grieving aspect of losing faith, it will help to put feelings into perspective. It may take time.

My biggest piece of advice would be to learn and armour yourself with as much education that you can, it will help. It will help the process of understanding and forming explanations in things and bring comfort. It will also empower you.

Also, find a support system. Many people here find this place a very good support system, and it's also good to have more than one.

I hope things become less overwhelming for you soon. Smile

Hi LadyJane.

Are there any books/people/skills in particular that you have found most educational on your walk?
Currently I am reading Katherine Armstrong's A History of God and Dawkins The God Delusion....I have access to several good public libraries where I live as well as alumni access to my old university library...but there is so much I want to read.
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
04-10-2012, 03:47 AM
RE: Looking for strategies to help cope with reality.
Dearest amav.eram,

I am so sorry about your grief. I grieved also.

When I abandoned Christian beliefs, I was freed to explore those things that my former belief system did not allow.

Over time, I filled myself with wonder at all the things I had thought of as small: the universe, the human condition, art as a product of the human condition, concern for life other than human, and an interest in a planet abandoned by people who live for another destination.

Gather your friends and family, they will love you and provide human connection. Gather your wits and celebrate a bigger world.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 4 users Like depat's post
07-10-2012, 12:45 PM
RE: Looking for strategies to help cope with reality.
(02-10-2012 06:02 PM)amav.eram Wrote:  And then there is Jesus...the guy who loved you so much and can transform your heart...not real. ...
Does anyone have any thoughts on this? What has worked for you?

I made him real by becoming my own personal Jebus. Jebus told me to do it, but the Devil made me do it. Evil_monster

This is not my signature.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes GirlyMan's post
Post Reply
Forum Jump: