While much of the world is not as religious as it once was, religion still holds quite a bit of weight in the world today. In fact, the two major religions of the world today, Christianity and Islam, are practiced by over half of the world’s population today.

It might not seem like this is the case if you live in America, where one study says that 18 percent of people aged 60 and younger regularly go to church and less than half of them believe in the existence of God. The study also says that each new generation is less religious than the one before it.

Which might explain the growing idea of spirituality. Something that many people say they practice in lieu of religion, even though spirituality and religion are often lumped together as one.

Why might someone say they are spiritual, but not religious? Here are the three main differences between a person who says they are spiritual and a person who says they are religious.

Religious folks claim to have the truth and want to share it with others. Spiritual folks believe the truth is out there waiting to be discovered

Religious people tend to live their lives as dictated by the Bible. Whatever is said in the Bible is the truth, including things like how the Earth was created, why there is bad and good in the world, and how God has a plan for everyone. And that’s enough for them.

Spiritual people simply can’t accept an answer that they themselves have not experienced or know to be true for themselves. Only once they have discovered the truth for themselves will they believe it.

Religious people act out of fear of being punished. Spiritual people do right by themselves

One of the core tenets of religion is being devout, chaste and without sin at all times, otherwise you burn in a lake of fire for eternity. Many people who grew up religious have had it drilled into their heads that they will be punished for not strictly adhering to the laws laid down in the Bible.

Spiritual people still have a moral compass, a sense of right and wrong, but they don’t do one or the other because they believe they will be damned. They act in ways that align with their inner selves. Their motivations become vast and complex, instead of strictly obedient.

Religious folks like to condemn those who do not see the world their way. Spiritual folks choose not to

Religious people tend to categorize and separate others into specific groups of good and bad depending on where their faith lies. What’s crazy is that there are 43,000 denominations of the Christian faith, and if you belong to one of those, you can’t belong to any of the others (and you’re viewed as being wrong by the other sects).

After all, if you’re claiming to have the truth, some other group cannot also have a different truth, right?

Spiritual people are much less concerned with what you choose to believe. If your spirituality differs from theirs, they’re not going to condemn or persecute you for it. They recognize that spirituality will be different for everyone.

It might seem like there is bias when writing about these two ideologies, but at the very core level, these are three very fundamental differences between people who practice spirituality and religion.

What do you think about the differences between religion and spirituality?

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5 Traits Every Empathic Person Possesses

Empaths are often recognized as individuals who possess highly sensitive skills and traits. These people are capable of absorbing the energies, emotions and feelings of other people around them, which is often why they are viewed as being so sensitive. In fact, empaths are so sensitive that if they do not learn how to protect themselves, they can easily end up suffering from depression and exhaustion, which in turn leads to unhealthy habits such as binging on drugs or food.

While there is nothing “special” about being an empath, it definitely makes life easier knowing whether or not you are an empath.

Here are five traits that describe most empaths. How many can you relate to?

Empaths tend to be introverted

Because empaths are so sensitive to the multitudes of stimuli that surround them every day, they tend to be introverted rather than extroverted. Crowds and large groups of people can easily overwhelm and exhaust an empath, so they prefer to socialize in small gatherings or alone with one or two others.

Empaths need time alone to rejuvenate and recharge

Part of being so sensitive to the myriad of energies floating around in the world is that it takes its toll on an empath much quicker than it would on a normal person. Empaths seek out solitude quite often in order to recharge their energy levels and prevent any situations where their emotions might get the best of them.

They rely heavily on their intuition

While everyone has a sense of intuition, empaths tend to rely on theirs with much more conviction. It’s one of their sharpest skills and they choose to listen to it more often than not. If their gut is saying “no,” the brain follows suit, trusting that intuition will not steer them in the wrong direction. This helps them avoid toxic people and toxic situations.

Empaths like to give too much sometimes

When a person or creature is going through hardship, empaths have the strange ability to literally feel exactly what the other person is feeling. This is why they tend to give much more than they receive. Empaths want to help soothe and protect creatures that are suffering, meaning they’re more likely to help homeless folks, or help a friend with a broken heart, or help a lost child find its parents.

Empaths thrive when they are in a natural environment

The hustle and bustle of urban environments can leave an empath feeling drained and exhausted. On the other hand, being in nature provides energy, clarity, and nourishment. Being outside in the presence of the natural world revitalizes their senses and makes it easier for them to release negative energies.

h/t Psychology Today

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10 Years Is All the Time We Have to Save Earth, Scientists Say

Climate change has been at the forefront of politics in countries all over the world as we continue to see the devastating effects it is having on planet Earth, and now scientists claim we have just 10 years to save the planet before disaster strikes.

Fortunately, they’ve also developed a model they hope will be used to balance the increasing carbon dioxide emissions with carbon sinks (such as forests) in order to keep temperatures from rising over 1.5 degrees Celsius, something that many believe will have catastrophic consequences for life on our planet.

Even though President Donald Trump has showed disdain for climate change efforts and has even sought to increase dirty energy production in the United States, scientists believe that the next decade will be a crucial period of time for those who have pledged to the Paris agreement.

Detailed online in Nature Communications, their study focuses on two major ways that world powers can help reverse the effects of climate change: by reducing emissions and restoring carbon sinks.

World Bank consultant Brian Walsh led the study, which concludes that fossil fuel use must be reduced to less than 25 percent of the global energy supply by the year 2100. For perspective, it is currently sitting at 95 percent. Secondly, deforestation needs to be halted or slowed down so as to achieve a 42 percent decrease in emissions by the year 2100.

The study looks at a large number of factors, including emissions from fossil fuels, agriculture, food production, bioenergy, and land use, as well as where carbon emissions originate from, where they go, and how our natural ecosystems work to absorb them.

“Earlier work on mitigation strategies by IIASA has shown the importance of demand-side measures, including efficiency, conservation, and behavioral change. Success in these areas may explain the difference between reaching 1.5 degrees Celsius instead of 2 degrees Celsius,” said Keywan Riahi, Energy Program Director for the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and co-author of the study.

Renewable energies are also featured in the study, with one favorable scenario seeing a five percent increase in wind, solar, and bioenergy each year until emissions peak in 2022. This scenario, even though it features renewable energy, would still lead to a 2.5 degrees Celsius temperature increase should the world not also incorporate “negative emissions” technologies.

What do you think about these warnings from researchers and scientists? Do you think the world will be thrust into chaos in 10 years?

h/t Inhabitat

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3 Big Reasons Why Narcissists Can Cause Lasting Damage

When a person takes on a narcissist as their romantic partner things can get ugly, fast. Eventually, you start to realize just how toxic the relationship truly is and begin to realize that your relationship isn’t really a relationship anymore--it’s a war. A war between saving yourself and letting this person destroy your very identity.

Recovering from this type of relationship isn’t the same as recovering from a normal one. Typically when you break up with someone you go through a period of grief where your brain forces you to think only about all of the bad stuff in the relationship. This helps you to heal and understand why it was not meant to be so that you can move on. Eventually, this leads to being able to remember the happy times. You can accept that there was some good in the relationship, and you’re happy to have had those moments, but things are different now and it’s okay.

After being with a narcissist, this process never kicks in like it should. Because there ultimately were no good moments, and you’re not actually recovering from a relationship turned sour or stale, but rather from a battle that you’ve been waging.

Here are three big reasons why relationships with narcissists can leave you feeling like you’ll never recover.

It’s easy to feel foolish and short-sighted

After it becomes obvious that the person you thought loved you is actually a sociopathic narcissist who was only interested in controlling every detail of your life, it can be difficult to not be hard on yourself for letting such a toxic person take hold of you. After all, it was your fault that you didn’t recognize this person as terrible in the first place, right?

It’s incredibly hard to recover when you feel as though your intuition and judgment are flawed.

Looking back, you start to realize that things weren’t as good as you thought they were

Oftentimes it is only when we are out of a relationship that we start to recognize just how toxic it actually was. With a narcissist, it’s the realization that the entire relationship was centered around just one person’s needs, desires and emotions. This is when you start to notice all of the little red flags that you missed the first time around.

This is hard to recover from because, again, you begin to question your own judgment and ability to correctly perceive reality--especially if your partner liked to gaslight you. It’s hard to heal when thinking about every little thing you did that played into their manipulative hands.

You suffer from feeling powerless

Because the narcissist’s whole goal of the relationship is to assert dominance and control, they often choose people they feel they can demean and belittle. After having your spirit broken, it becomes incredibly hard to function normally in other areas of life. How could you, after being forced to live in a constant state of defense and protection? Being proactive with a positive mindset is difficult after living in such a way. So, you might be doing life stuff, like paying bills and going to work, but you’re not actually healing.

h/t Psychology

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5 Ways to Tell If You're In Love or Just Attached to Someone

Have you ever met someone who seemed to be in a different relationship every other week? Or maybe it wasn’t so much that they had a new partner often, but that they never really took the time to be single? As someone who used to be this way in the past, I can tell you that it’s difficult to distinguish between actually being in love and having an unhealthy habit of simply getting attached to someone.

People get into relationships for a multitude of different reasons and sometimes these reasons are shallow and fleeting. So, if you’re just starting out in a relationship or are thinking about pursuing one, it’s always good to know the differences between someone you’re truly falling for and someone you’re with for other reasons.

Here are five differences between love and attachment.

Selfless vs. self-absorbed

When you truly love someone else, you start to put their best interests before your own. Your actions, behaviors and words all start to reflect the affection, passion and devotion you have for him or her.

When you’re attached to someone, the other person’s presence is necessary simply to fulfill your needs and desires. You’re not worried so much about their well-being, only your own.

Love is timeless, attachment has an expiration

True love never wonders about time and whether or not things will come to an end. It may cross your mind as a simple curiosity, but your love for the other person never allows this curiosity become a reality. When you’ve come to love someone, that love is almost always something that lasts forever.

Attachment has an expiration date from the start. It’s not a real connection, but rather a dependency for one person or both. Trying to grow through attachment is a disaster waiting to happen.

Passion vs. apathy

A relationship full of love is one that is full of passion and chemistry. You can’t really describe the feeling that’s inside of you, because that feeling is so intense and powerful that it’s hard to put into words. Yet, it’s always there, driving you, motivating you to be the best partner you can be.

Attachment is chock-full of apathy. You don’t really ever feel too strongly towards your partner, and you might have moments where emotions run high and things feel good, but it will never compare to the fiery dynamics of love.

Me vs. Us

Being truly in love with your partner means that the two of you have started planning your lives together. You have a new perspective on the world, one that is concerned with the best path for both of you. You are both respectful to each other’s life goals and wishes, and listen to and support one another concerning ambitions and dreams. You compromise to find the best plan of action for the couple.

Attachment is more of a power dynamic. One person has one plan in mind and the other person has another plan in mind, and each person is fighting to control the direction of the relationship. The paths are not converging, they’re separating.

Freedom vs. possession

True love means not needing to be attached to your partner at the hip at all times. True love creates freedom because worry and concern about who they’re with or what they’re doing when you’re not around is replaced with trust, loyalty and a strong bond. You both trust one another to do right by the other, even when they’re not around.

When you’re attached to someone, you’re never 100 percent okay without them around. You hate being apart from one another, not because of love, but because you’re worried about what they might do. If the only time you feel at ease or fully okay is when you’re with your partner, it’s an unhealthy attachment.

h/t Unified Soul Theory

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