What to Do Now With Religious Fears

fear healing perfectionism religious programming Apr 15, 2023

Are you familiar with these scare tactics that religion often exploits as a means to keep you obedient? Here are a few classics:

  • Guilt/shame (for being a human basically)
  • Purity culture messaging
  • The fear of going to hell if you get off the right path

So when you end up questioning these religious systems, it's completely NORMAL to still feel fear. You were conditioned for years to believe these doubts would land you in hell, which  symbolized the ultimate disconnection, punishment, and a lack of safety--all things that as the religious good girl you have strived to avoid all your life.

It's no wonder these fears are still there. Think about how young you were indoctrinated with them! You don't just switch them off immediately. In fact, when you are repetitively given frightening imagery and told horrific stories of eternal damnation and torment you become hyper-vigilant, heightening your intolerance and fear of making making the wrong choice. It can create bodily responses, thoughts, and lingering imprints in your nervous system that can take time to move through, so be patient with yourself.

We believe one powerfully effective technique is to learn how to be WITH those younger parts of you that are still deeply fearful.

The five things we suggest to focus on are:

  1. Get clear with what the message of fear is trying to tell you now.
  2. Recognize that the mindset of perfection was simply trying to save you from hell (Hint, it was trying to be helpful so you don't have to criticize yourself for it)
  3. Gently remind yourself of what you do/do not believe now 
  4. Learn new ways to build inner safety
  5. Assure those younger parts that they are safe now, with compassion and understanding

*Please note this is not therapeutic advice. If you are struggling with religious OCD or actual religious trauma, you might need to seek help beyond these suggestions. We always advise working with a trusted therapist or coach.

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