There is an emergence of spiritual, life and philosophical gurus today. We have tons of people offering advice, encouragement and wisdom for the masses. But how deep does the spirituality or wisdom run? There have always been those who have an inspirational message. With Social Media, it seems that there are more of these people talking.
One of the great things about Social Media is the accessibility to an audience and the ability to communicate a message. People can post thoughts, musings, advice, rant, rave and play. There are a lot of thought going around everywhere…from everybody. Thoughts are translated rapidly. My question is, “whose thoughts are they?” , and how much of what’s being touted by people who are thought leaders, coaches and gurus is actually authentic and real?
I’ve noticed a new trend that I call Spiritual Bulimia. People are eating, and then regurgitating all sorts of inspiration, quotes and advice, but have no real power or evidence of success or change in their own lives. They ingest all the self help and inspirational materials, but they don’t digest it. They are taking it all in, but not actually implementing the behaviors, changing the thoughts and eliminating the patterns to have lives that should be a byproduct of such voracious consumption.
bü-?l?-m?-?, byü-, -?li-
Etymology: New Latin, from Greek boulimia great hunger, from bou-, augmentative prefix (from bous head of cattle) + limos hunger
Date: 14th century
1 : an abnormal and constant craving for food
2 : a serious eating disorder [that occurs chiefly in females], is characterized by compulsive overeating usually followed by self-induced vomiting or laxative or diuretic abuse, and is often accompanied by guilt and depression —called also bulimia nervosa (Merriam-Webster)
Spiritual Bulimia affects women and men; old and young; all professions, economic levels and educational backgrounds. Just as with physical bulimia people with Spiritual Bulimia have what seems to be an insatiable appetite for inspiration and self help. They are hungry for it. They crave it, and so they gorge on quotes, books, other people’s material. But they don’t keep it, use it or implement what they’ve consumed. They spit it back out so that they sound good and look the part, but they are weak and ineffective in their daily lives.
Spiritual Bulimics have a facade. On the surface they look beautiful, and together, in a manner of speaking. They live lives of hidden inadequacy. As with physical bulimia, depression, and guilt accompany Spiritual Bulimia. There is nothing more disheartening than not living up to one’s potential and living vicariously through others. No matter what we say or do, we know when we’re not walking the talk, which results in feelings of guilt, disgrace and shame.
Spiritual Bulimics are not growing. They have lives that are spiritually, emotionally and sometimes even physically unhealthy. There is a surface level of joy and seeming wisdom. But if you watch long enough, it becomes clear that the inspiration, wisdom and knowledge don’t go far beyond that surface. Spiritual Bulimics know what to do, they are just mired in fear and doubt, and don’t do it. They have the knowledge, but they don’t apply it consistently in their own lives. They make excuses. They have victim mentalities. They complain. They are not kind to people. They have poor or no relationships and are unhappy. They talk a good game but if you examine the fruit of their lives, it’s anorexic.
Like any other illness, Spiritual Bulimia can be helped. First, recognizing the problem is key. If you have read every self help book, spiritual text and attended every motivational speaker (or are a life coach or motivational speaker) but you have not made any progress, you may be Spiritually Bulimic. If you can help others to successful relationships, jobs and life changes, but you do not have any of these things in your own life, or follow your own advice, you may be Spiritually Bulimic. If you hate your job, hate the people in your life, have superficial relationships and have not been able to reach any of your goals, cannot get ahead, but can quote inspirational texts and scriptures, you may be Spiritually Bulimic.
The treatment for Spiritual Bulimia is simple. First, thoughts must be changed. Spiritual Bulimics secretly harbor negative self images and feelings of unworthiness. They don’t “feel” beautiful on the inside, so they often focus on the outside. They haven’t pursued goals with abandon, because secretly, they believe that they won’t achieve them. So the first step to solving this illness is changing those thoughts. Affirmations of self worth, scriptures that support how much we are loved can be a help. Next, you have to actually eat, and digest the spiritual and emotional “food”. It’s not enough to read the latest self help book on relationships, how to be successful and how to live the life of your dreams. Actually follow the program. Make the lasting changes necessary to be authentically successful so that you can have a healthy life all-around. Set goals, and do not abandon them. Stop complaining, be thankful. Take a good look at your relationships and be honest about whether or not you show up and are giving of your self. Do spiritual autopsies on every failure in your life. What happened on the job from which you were fired (not laid off)? What happened in the last (or last 10) relationships you’ve had that failed? What was your part in the failure? Is there a common pattern of behavior or thinking that you need to change? Identify those things and make it a goal to eliminate or reduce the self-limiting, self-defeating, self-sabotaging behaviors and thoughts that are keeping you from growing and being healthy, happy and successful.
Above all, have courage. You can make any change needed. The first step is always the hardest. Like any illness, recognizing the problem and following the treatment before it’s too far gone will help. Above all, be honest and kind to yourself throughout the healing process. This time next year, you’ll be in a better, more authentically successful and happy place.