Am I embarrassed to be a Hindu? Not at all. No, I am embarrassed by this perception of me as trying too hard.
Why is it that I (and plenty of others) are so afraid of that? What harm is it to me if some people think I’m over the top? Strange? Ridiculous?
I hate that people think these things of me:
Trying too hard
I hate hearing those things. I hate thinking that people think that’s me. But really, so what? Why do I take it so much to heart?
Some reasons why I think we might feel judged if we happen to be religious people…
Most of the time passion for something is admired and respected but sometimes someone seems just too into whatever they love. So passionate about it that we cringe. Why? I think it’s because someone who loves something that much comes across as vulnerable. What if it lets her down? What if someone takes advantage of his love in order to scam him? Loving something too much makes us feel vulnerable and when we see someone else love something that much it makes us feel worried for them. We might distance ourselves from that worrying by rolling our eyes or being dismissive of this person’s passion.
Desperation to Fit In
This is one that converts to Hinduism can easily fall into. Since Hindus usually have a particular look that maybe you don’t quite have, you try really hard to be as Hindu as possible in every way that you can. Usually this results in going way too far and doing more than a native ever would.
Desperation is not attractive on anyone and we feel sympathy pains as we see someone try so hard for something she’ll never achieve (such as striving to be a different race!)
Getting Taken Seriously
For religious people in particular we might worry that in our job or around our peers we could be dismissed as not as intelligent if we are open about being religious. When you’re in a secular area, admitting to being religious could expose you to ridicule.
Fear of trying too hard is something I think a lot of Americans suffer from. This is why we don’t dress up very much for events and usually don’t want to be the most dressed up (and hence look like the person who cared the most!). The hipster craze going on in this country right now seems to be all about being above it all and too cool; detached and ironic, not caring too much about anything so they aren’t vulnerable and exposing their true hearts.
Just like all our dating advice books say, he who cares the least wins.
I don’t want to see the world that way anymore. When I see someone swaying in bliss, eyes closed, lost in communion with the divine, I don’t want to shudder or scoff. Some people may laugh at me sometimes, but I don’t have to do that to others. I can hold my head high and say, it’s okay if you want to make fun of my passion. I’m strong enough and confident enough to keep following my heart.