Respect People's Religion

By Luanna Cristina Hedler via UN Online Volunteers

My parents are not extremely religious but God is a very important part of our family since I was little and as I have learned during my life. We go to the church every time we can and I consider that been educated by the protestants church ideals and way of seeing life and being is a good thing for me.

When a teenager, I entered a church group with people my age 12 - 14 and it was awesome to gather with young people like me who had the same beliefs and doubts about how to live among non religious people or people who makes fun of God. Because that was my issue during school and high school.

I always felt like when I was in church or in my church group I was free of every judgment, joke, bullying and I could be myself, I could be free and when I was at school I needed to act like the others to be part of the group and be cool. I even got a little distance from the church because I was afraid my school friends would find out I had a band that sang praise songs and that I pray to
God and Jesus Christ.

This was a long period, about almost 10 years of my life, because in graduation it was no easier for me either. Everybody is like atheist, don’t believe in anything and think people who does are weird. So I thought I needed to accept and be ok with it, without expressing my opinion about religion because God and Jesus were not well accepted by the others even though I always respected each one beliefs and religions.

Fear and shame are not cool feelings, not at all. They make you feel small, afraid of being yourself, afraid of not being accepted by society and specially by your friends or the people you like somehow. But in the end, when you realise you are lying to yourself, you feel even worse, because in fact, you don’t need anyone’s approval but yours.

I feel like sharing this with you, because this turnover in my life, this acceptance, this freedom came by empowerment stories, empowered friends and examples that made me strong enough to go over it after understanding what was going on with me, and that I had a way out.

I needed to comprehend that from now on, what I have hidden for so long would be exposed and I promised to myself I would never hide it again. It is hard to deal with others and with your mind every day, but I always replay this in my mind: I don’t have to be ashamed of the religious part of my personality and true self.

When you have the courage to live for yourself, for your happiness, for your beliefs and matters not paying attention to haters or people who dislikes you, that’s when you grow and become a great person for yourself and for the world.


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