Spirituality: 14 Potential Disadvantages and Drawbacks

Last Updated on February 14, 2024 by Lifevif Team and JC Franco

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A spiritual life is often touted as “the way to live” in modern times. Those who achieve a sense of spirituality are thought to have peace, calm, and tranquility in their lives, but how true is this really? I have recently been giving some thought to the possible downsides of spirituality; and believe it or not, there are quite a few.

Who could even begin to believe that a spiritual life could be negative? Surely not, right? Well, the reality is that spirituality may be good for your mind and soul, but it could welcome some discomforts and unpleasant experiences into your life.

Being spiritual isn’t something that you can do today and put on hold tomorrow. It is a belief system and a way of life, which means that it will require you to be dedicated and involved each and every day of your life. Before you launch yourself into a spiritual way of being, take the time to consider the possible drawbacks.

14 potential disadvantages and drawbacks of spirituality:

1. Spirituality is not always accepted socially or by peers.

Believe it or not, in today’s modern times, where the atheist community is growing, religion and spirituality are not always accepted. You might find that your friends, colleagues, and even family members balk at the idea of you suddenly seeking out spirituality. There’s a general fear of indoctrination when someone turns to a spiritual way of life, so be prepared for your choice to be misunderstood and judged by your peers. 

2. It’s a lengthy and involved process. 

Learning how to be spiritual and live a spiritual lifestyle is not something that happens overnight. You will need to learn a lot. There are things to be studied, and you might even need to meet with groups of others who wish to be on the same spiritual path. You might soon find that your spirituality is taking up a large portion of your time or seemingly ruling your life. 

3. Spirituality requires intense self-discipline.

You can’t just want to live a spiritual lifestyle and expect it to fall into place. It’s going to present challenges as you will need to change your mindset, your thought process, and your daily lifestyle. It’s a big change that requires dedication, especially when you are tempted to slip back into old ways. 

4. You could be mocked for your belief system.

Many people are mocked for their spiritual beliefs on a daily basis. Because other people don’t understand or respect the higher power or spiritual concepts that you do, it can be hard for them to accept them. This can lead to a form of bullying whereby you are mocked and teased. 

5. It could be dangerous placing all hope in a higher power that may not exist. 

While spirituality is known to bring peace and hope into many people’s lives, there’s no actual guarantee that any of it is real or true. When you place your time, attention, and faith in something that you cannot see or be sure of, you could be putting yourself at risk. You could lose what you have, you could get hurt, and you could even be a victim of a scam. You also stand the risk of being disappointed when you expect things to change or improve due to your new-found spirituality, and then nothing happens. 

6. Spirituality could impose limitations on your lifestyle.

Some spiritual belief systems require you to give up things and behaviors that might be normal to you. For instance, you might have to give up eating certain foods or be expected to meet up a certain amount of times each week. Some spiritual belief systems might require you to wear certain clothing when in public. If you aren’t one for rules and limitations, this might be the hard part for you. 

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7. The first stages can feel stifling and draining.

When reaching a state of spiritual awakening or enlightenment, it can be mentally, physically and emotionally draining. Understanding what spirituality is about and what your role is in this new lifestyle can be quite tiring at first. There is good news, though – it doesn’t always feel that way. 

8. Loneliness, at least for a time.

Spirituality is something that wakes up a part of you that has been lying dormant. You think about and see things quite differently when living a spiritual lifestyle. For many, there is a transitional period of loneliness. You start to question everything in your life and may even disconnect from your regular peers and social groups while you try to get to a place of deeper understanding and balance. This can lead to loneliness. Unless you find others on the same spiritual path as you, your friendships and connections may never be quite the same again.

9. You may start to feel oversensitive. 

As you become more spiritual, you will develop the ability to see and feel things more deeply. As your spirituality grows, you can expect to become more sensitive to the people, places and things that you encounter. You may start to see things as wrong or uncomfortable, whereas, before, you were totally oblivious to it. Obviously, this new way of thinking and feeling can lead to feeling oversensitive and also bring about feelings of discomfort in your life.

10. Spirituality demands time and effort.

Being spiritual is not something that happens in the background of your life. It requires real and daily time and effort from you. You will need to make sure that you make time for your spirituality. 

11. You start to see the world and those around you through new eyes, which can be uncomfortable.

What once appeared normal and acceptable to you may suddenly start to feel wrong. This can be quite uncomfortable. Consider this…your colleague at work that usually tells you about her drunken and careless weekend escapades, tells you her stories as usual, but you no longer find them interesting. Instead, it makes you spiritually uncomfortable because of your belief system.

12. People may start to avoid you (you become unpopular).

Being “spiritual” often means that you choose a path of peace, ethics, gratitude, altruism, among others. Unfortunately, this is not particularly popular in modern times. Your friends and family may not like the new path you have chosen, and because of this, you could become a lot less popular in your normal circles. 

13. It can create dissonance in your mind and life. 

The life you have been living is filled with habitual behaviors. Now that you are living a spiritual lifestyle, you may have to change some of these behaviors and habits. When you know you shouldn’t do something, but are so used to doing it that you do it anyway and then proceed to feel bad…this is dissonance in action. This can make you feel quite conflicted inside. 

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14. Possible negative impact on your relationships. 

Not everyone is going to be thrilled with your new spirituality. Some people might be nervous because they don’t understand it. That said, many people lose the closeness of their relationships with others because of their new spirituality. Don’t be surprised if there is a backlash to your decision to live a more spiritual lifestyle. 

Last Word

Living a spiritual life also comes with a whole host of positive advantages, which you should spend some time investigating too. Like everything in life, there are downsides, but if you are committed and it’s something you really want to do, you can make it work. Good luck with your future spiritual endeavors.

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This article was co-authored by our team of in-house and freelance writers, and reviewed by our editors, who share their experiences and knowledge about the "Seven F's of Life".

JC Franco
Editor | + posts

JC Franco is a New York-based editor for Lifevif. He covers topics like spirituality, philosophy, finance, sports, games, and food. JC earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business with a Marketing Concentration at Mercyhurst University. He is a certified USPTA professional who teaches tennis in the New York City Metropolitan area. He has passed the Level I exam of the CFA program.