On labels, spirituality, narcissistic abuse and power (Mr. Rogers, Marianne Williamson)

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Are you too spiritual for labels? I used to be. I mentioned this in a previous blog post (https://joybasedliving.com/2019/01/24/why-i-love-co-narcissists-and-why-you-should-too/) but today it came up in an f-bomb kind of story – with a lot of energy and clarity. So I thought you might like it!


Today I spoke with a beautiful, deep and spiritual woman who really enjoys having meaningful conversations. She’s unafraid to ask questions when she wants clarification, and she keeps digging until she has her questions answered. I love that about her!!

Anyway, we were talking about “narcissistic abuse” and although she seemed  quite eager to discuss the topic, she was clearly very uncomfortable with my using the label. But she also seemed too uncomfortable to directly call me on it, and she kept dancing around it. Which made me uncomfortable, and I found myself getting slightly agitated. What came out of my mouth next surprised me (and probably her too!).

I took the reigns and put words to what I felt she was really thinking. “What you’re really asking me is: Debbie, how can you be SPIRITUAL, and stand for the positive in EVERYONE and really see the best in EVERYONE and really believe that EVERYONE can change, and STILL label someone?” With a nod of her head, she gave me definite confirmation that I understood her.

Taking a very deep breath, I tuned in to my body and my own inner clarity and replied, “My first and strongest thoughts to that question are: Fuck that shit to hell. I will not buy into that line of thinking. In fact, I think it’s hurting a LOT Of people in spiritual communities. Too many people are using it to stay in denial. They are in a lot of pain, and are not setting proper boundaries because they are unwilling to name what is really happening. I simply refuse to do that anymore. I already wore that hat and am done with it.” She looked a little surprised but she still seemed open and eager to keep the conversation going.


So I raised 4 fingers on one hand and asked her how many fingers I was holding up. Four. That’s a label.

Here’s the thing: Labels can be used for judging another person, or for discernment. Often, there’s a mix of both. Here’s a “practical and spiritual” outlook that I find quite helpful:

  1. Judgment is not the same thing as discernment. Discernment is wisdom. It helps you know what antidote you need depending on the kind of snake that bit you. (https://joybasedliving.com/2019/01/24/why-i-love-co-narcissists-and-why-you-should-too/) The wrong antidote can actually kill you.
  2. Any judgment I have toward another person is something worthy of my awareness, acceptance and action. It’s a CALL FOR LOVE within me. A judgment tells me that I have a button that is being pushed. It’s MY button. And this means it’s up to me to look at INSIDE MYSELF and release it. (Buy the JBL E-book if you want to strengthen this muscle in yourself.)
  3. #2 doesn’t negate #1. You’re a complex and mysterious and deep being. You can transcend your judgments even while and saying, “Fuck no!” to someone who you’ve discerned needs to hear it.

Here are a couple of great quotes from very “spiritual” people who I admire and who use labels to generate awareness:

Marianne Williamson, a popular spokeswoman for A Course in Miracles says: “A person who has no remorse, a person who has no conscience, a person who has no ethics, a person who has no compassion, is a sociopath.” She describes the United States as currently having “a sociopathic economic system.”

Mr. Rogers, one of the kindest and gentlest souls in our modern-day history, said: “I think that those who would try to make you feel less than who you are… I think that’s the greatest evil.” (I didn’t even know he knew the word until I watched his recent documentary.!)


I’ll close with another eloquent quote by Marianne: “New paradigm leadership is where the leaders are holding the space for the brilliance of others.”

That’s where I want us to take this conversation. I think there are a lot of amazing people who are want to let their true voices be set free. But they dim down under fears of being imperfect or unspiritual or unwanted. THAT’S CALLED SHAME and it comes in a thousand different disguises. Breaking through shame can help you take the reigns of your power and raise your gorgeous voice. THAT’S CALLED HONOR.

Let’s use our power to hire great leaders and to be great leaders.

We are worth it.

With so much love,

Happy D!

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