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Beliefs and shame

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Edge:
I’ve got a bit of a problem it seems and could use some outside perspective to give me a hand. I’ve decided I want some sort of spiritual path and, while I know I need to figure out where I’m going myself, I have certain hang ups that are getting in my way.

First of all, it’s been drilled into my head that believing in things that can’t exist is delusional and stupid and this is firmly lodged in my mind. It doesn’t stop me from believing in things (no matter how much I’ve tried not to), but it causes me distress.  I’m slowly getting better, but it’s still at the point where I have trouble admitting I believe in things even to myself and, when I do, it usually comes with repeated statements that I know I’m insane.
Why do I want to have a belief system if there’s so much shame wrapped in having one? For one, I believe in supernatural people and creatures regardless. It is what comes naturally and is part of who I am even if it is delusional. For another, I’m lonely, feel like an outsider, and want to belong to something even if I’m still kind of an outsider with humans of similar beliefs. If that makes sense. I am afraid that ranges into imaginary friend territory and that it’s weak of me to use deities as a crutch to make my loneliness feel better, but at the same time, I wonder if it will help make me stronger by helping me.

Second of all, I already have certain things I lean towards. The problem is, they don’t exactly fit with pre-established belief systems. For example, I lean towards Norse paganism, but I’m a queer, trans guy who feels more drawn to Loki and some of the jötnar than the other Æsir and Vanir although I have respect for all of them. Those seem to be frowned upon by heathens/Asatru/Odinists/etc. I also don’t believe in just one pantheon either, believe in any pantheon’s creation stories, or believe that deities are necessarily superior to any other beings just by virtue of being deities. I like witchcraft, but that’s also frowned upon in Norse beliefs (if you’re mortal) and the kind of witchcraft I’m interested in apparently frowns on any religion in general, so they appear to be mutually exclusive. I definitely lean more towards the darker and more chaotic aspects of folklore and mythology which tends to give people the impression of some stupid, rebellious, teenage phase (I’m 26 and have been this way since elementary school at least) to make one look cool (I really do gravitate towards this stuff naturally, cool or not). I’m not interested in worship in the sense of trying to be worthy of other people (deities or not), but am interested in the idea of honouring people who I like and respect. That probably seems arrogant, but hey, if the shoe fits.
Why do I care if my own beliefs are part of a pre-established, all or nothing set? Because I also have hang ups about unverified personal gnosis. I think it’s mostly because I’ve heard the idea shamed so much.
Normally, I wouldn’t care what other people think, but this shame was enforced at the same time as some traumatic experiences which apparently makes it a little more difficult to shake.

What do I hope to get out of sharing this and seeing what people say? I don’t know. Maybe someone has advice that doesn’t involve telling me I’m wrong. Maybe I’ve gotten the wrong impression of what is and isn’t accepted and, like Floki in Vikings, I can actually be accepted despite being a little odd. Maybe other people have experience dealing with shame for their beliefs and have some tricks on how to deal with that. I’m kind of afraid people will judge me and tell me that who I am is wrong and I should change instead, but that’s a risk I take every day by being who I am.
Sorry this has been all over the place.

Disclaimer in case this needs to be said: No, I don’t just like Loki because of Marvel. I’ve liked Loki from the Norse tales long before I was introduced to Marvel.

DriftingCrow:

--- Quote ---What do I hope to get out of sharing this and seeing what people say? I don’t know. Maybe someone has advice that doesn’t involve telling me I’m wrong. Maybe I’ve gotten the wrong impression of what is and isn’t accepted and, like Floki in Vikings, I can actually be accepted despite being a little odd. Maybe other people have experience dealing with shame for their beliefs and have some tricks on how to deal with that. I’m kind of afraid people will judge me and tell me that who I am is wrong and I should change instead, but that’s a risk I take every day by being who I am
--- End quote ---

I understand where you're coming from, especially since most people around my age, where I live are atheists who automatically assume that I am one too, that I mainly just keep quiet unless there's been a direct question. Most people I don't care enough about to bother explaining things about myself to, but also part of it is probably from shame since like you said, any mention of "God(s)" make most people who are non-theist think you're an ignorant fundamentalist.

I really though think most people don't need to know much personal things about me (even family members), so I figure getting into a big religious/philosophical conversation just isn't worth it except for with a few people.

Good luck.

Edge:

--- Quote from: Nimrata (aka LH) on June 20, 2014, 01:57:45 pm ---I really though think most people don't need to know much personal things about me (even family members), so I figure getting into a big religious/philosophical conversation just isn't worth it except for with a few people.
--- End quote ---
Oh indeed. At the moment, most people don't have a clue whether I'm atheist or pagan and I've had people assume both about me (and being completely fine with me either way). The problem for me is that I end up shaming myself.

Jess42:
There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of Edge. Sprituality in any form is a personal experience and that experience is unique to the individual. I have my beliefs and they are my own. No one else's but mine and it comes from my life experiences good and bad. Am I dark, bet your butt I am. Do I believe good eventually conquers evil, yes I do. Just because I am dark doesn't mean I am evil. My beliefs of a Diety are just that, my beliefs in such a Diety is formed by my life experiences and perceptions. I am not accepted by any mainstream or even cult like beliefs. Chritians say I am going to hell, satinists say I believe too much, athiests say that I am too much of a theist and everyone thinks I am borderline insane. ;) Which I am proud of by the way.

Go against the grain. You seem like a person that is strong enough to swim against the current so form your own beliefs. I believe that we form beliefs for a reason and that is because a little voice inside of us which could be of a devine nature is guiding us into what we need to believe in. If it is out of the realm of accepted religious views, that's OK. As long as it isn't about hurting others in anyway. It is extremely personal and unique to you and really doesn't have to make sense to anyone other than youself. Hope that helps a little.

Edge:
Thanks, Jess. For me, I have formed my own beliefs and they're here to stay no matter what people say. (Usually, it was atheists and pagans who had a problem with me or people like me, honestly.) It's just difficult to get those memories to shut up.

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