I’m probably the last person who should be talking about how to build spiritual relationships, let alone any relationships. As an autistic person, I have always struggled to fully connect with others. Don’t even get me started on small talk.
But compared to general networking and socializing, I see the idea to build spiritual relationships take on greater, deeper meaning. We’re not just going out to the clubs every Friday night or taking a stab at Tinder dates. (Both of these? Hard pass.) Instead, we’re consciously deciding to cultivate and build spiritual relationships that dare to unveil ourselves, flaws and all.
The way we generally approach conversation and interaction is surface-level. It’s not fulfilling, but draining. And when we throw social media into the mix, you’re bound to come across inauthentic, vain, and seemingly pointless communication. There’s a time and place for fun and memes (coming from a meme enthusiast myself), but to build spiritual relationships means we cut the fluffy exterior way to raw, open vulnerability.
Sound scary? Everyone will likely agree with you on that one. However, we’re in a position where we so desperately crave this kind of potent connection. Not only will you build spiritual relationships that can truly fill you up in heart and soul, but you’ll also rediscover who you truly are. That alone is worth the risks.
what is a spiritual relationship?
Before we build spiritual relationships, we need to know the end goal. What makes a spiritual relationship different from what we may already have in our lives? Aren’t my family and friends enough as is?
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with who you currently are and who you currently surround yourself with, unless they’re soul-sucking (more to come on that!). God has brought the people into (and out of) your life for a reason, and it’s important to trust that process.
Here is what sets spiritual relationships apart: vulnerability. If you’ve ever read Brene Brown, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Vulnerability is the key ingredient in deeper connections and conversations. If you ever doubted whether or not we’re all of One consciousness, try being vulnerable; the answer will be self-explanatory.
Another important factor in building spiritual relationships is shared understanding. Again, you probably think, “Well, I wouldn’t have friends unless they understood me!” You aren’t wrong, but let’s take it to another level: do these friends know your heart and soul? Do they honor your divinity? And do you do the same for them?
I’m all for “the more the merrier” mentality if that works for you, but I certainly think building spiritual relationships requires a different approach. Think quality over quantity. Even if you have one or two people that demonstrate unadulterated vulnerability and understanding, then that energy can fill you up more than a hundred surface-level acquaintances.
building spiritual relationships vs. the status quo.
Trust me, I know how intimidating this sounds. Being neurodiverse, I already struggle significantly with socializing, let alone building sustainable relationships. However, I’ve found that with the connections I’ve formed, when I invest my energy into deepening them, the end results really satisfy that inkling in me to “be more social.”
Undoubtedly, humans are social creatures. Well, most of us. Most people reading this may have the problem of having too many lackluster relationships, whereas I’m here with limited energy and necessity for more people in my life. I see building spiritual relationships as a way to open myself up more to like-minded souls, benefiting both parties. A symbiotic relationship, if you will.
Perhaps we have evolutionary factors to back this up, but society constantly pressures us that we need to have friends and be social on a regular basis. Those of us who struggle in this department are ostracized. You know what to call them: outcasts. Loners. Hermits.
Approaching how to build spiritual relationships from this perspective makes the notion invitational than mandatory. I believe the most important way to build spiritual relationships is to start with yourself.
It’s beautiful to seek out our innate unity with one another, but it’s just as beautiful to know your own challenges and needs when doing so. Honor that. Don’t force yourself where you don’t feel fulfilled. However you are, as long as you’re happy, is okay.
how do I do build spiritual relationships?
If you’re still here, then you’re definitely interested in how to build spiritual relationships. Here are some basic steps to begin the process. Feel free to tailor everything to fit wherever your heart leads you.
1. start where you are.
You likely already have many varying relationships in your life. Like I mentioned earlier, there’s no need to dump your current friends for new ones. Instead, ask yourself, “How deeply do I know this person? Do I feel like this person conflicts with my values, or uplifts them?”
If you see potential for a closer, spiritual bond with someone, bring it forth. Speak it and make it known. Just by clearly setting your intentions, you’ll likely notice that Spirit guides the way in supporting you and whoever shares your goal.
2. seek out spiritual spaces.
Your environment is so impactful. Think of it as a container in which you can connect with God and others. If something around you isn’t right, it’ll throw a wrench in your efforts.
I highly encourage you to again make your intentions known by actively seeking out spaces that build spiritual relationships. These can be physical places, like a church or group gathering, or they could be virtual, like a Facebook group. We’ve been equipped with so many tools, but how we choose to use them makes a world of difference.
The environment doesn’t necessarily have to be marketed as spiritual. Think of book clubs, or yoga classes, or 12-Step meetings, or engaging group chats, or nature hikes, or cozy coffee shops with the perfect ambiance. God exists in all of these places. Listen to your intuition: if there’s a place you really want to be, or an opportunity arises, take advantage of it. That’s God reaching out a hand.
3. speak and listen with presence.
Let’s face it: the modern world isn’t conducive to stillness. We always have a distraction at our disposal to keep moving and doing something, even if it’s ultimately damaging. And, chances are, we’re too distracted to build spiritual relationships.
This is a spiritual practice that requires true effort and discipline. Put aside your vices, and give yourself entirely to the present connection you’re making. Don’t speak just to fill the silence. Don’t listen just to know what to say next.
Drop out of the thinking, worrying mind into your heart. As cheesy as that might sound, you’d be surprised by the wisdom you can manifest, without rushing into the “perfect response.” The Divine works through us when we give permission.
When we speak, we’re mindful of our empathy, of the courage we exhibit. And when we listen, we look for God in where energy may rise and fall and in what stories are told. Look toward resources to inspire and educate you in how to best make use of your interactions.
I pray that these tidbits can prove useful as you build spiritual relationships. When in doubt, start with yourself and with God: those are the most important relationships we’ll ever have. Then see where God leads you, whether that be toward the people already in your life or to places you never expected to go.
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie
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