Being positively recognized
HI, for over a year, I stopped attending meeting and field service. Actually, passively disassociated from the congregation. But I did not stop reading and doing my own research. In fact, I have read and investigated a lot more than when I was an active JW.
However, this is what I wanted to share. Since I have stopped being a(n active) JW I have had 3 different people that spontaneously said to me that I 1) seems much sweeter, softer 2) very open to approach, comfortable to speak to and 3) my eyes are friendly, 'naughty' but in a positive way. And they were not aware of my change in life.
It got me thinking. I have been an active JW for about 17 years, and add some 5 years of study, in total 22 years connected to the organization, to the education etc. Not once in that whole period has anyone (both outside and inside the org) said something similar as these 3 people. I now wonder why....because when one "comes out of the word" his/her change must be most positive, taking up a new personality with new behaviors and (improved) moral. People must notice that, right? Well, I guess people did notice a different but apparently not in a positive way.
The org claims that JW's are the happiest people, living the best life ever. Well, I sense that people do not recognize that. The org claims to be a charity and spending over a billion hours to preach to people. Still, this makes no impression at all on others as the organization is not recognized as a key charity. Its members are not known as very involved In community affairs, in other charities etc.
I never expected nor realized that others recognized a positive change in me.
Others with a similar experience?
I have been told similar things, and even one very long time serving Elder and his wife that I knew were told that too by "worldly" friends when they began to "Fade".
It really is a depressing religion, it is a Spiritual Desert that is also a Prison.
Once out and free, and able to drink the clear waters of truth* it is bound to make you happy !
*(By "truth" I mean real truth, that which is backed up by proper evidence).
I have worked in the same school district for nearly a decade. When I started working there I was still an elder (this was at the end of my waking up to TTATT period).
Now, nearly six years since my leaving the religion, several people--none of whom know about my JW past--have commented on how much nicer, more relaxed and easy going I am.
By their fruits you will recognize them: It's a cult!
menrov, excellent topic. Basically, you are returning to your authentic self and it is wonderful.
What I observed with my parents who became zealous was the opposite. They used to be kind and loving people and once baptized, became mean-spirited, holier-than-thou. This is what happens when you believe you are God's Chosen. Elevating oneself above everyone else is not a good thing.
Conversely, when you realize you are no more special than anyone else, your authentic self returns and comes forward.
This is happening now with my Father since he became ill with dementia. He no longer remembers much, if anything at all about the JWs. And everyone at the nursing home says he is a really nice guy. Yes, his authentic self has returned. Yay!
I am convinced that when we leave the cult, a sort of veil between us and 'the world' is removed. We had not allowed ourselves to REALLY get to know people or open ourselves up to them. We had kept a distance and sort of didn't look straight into people's eyes. When we leave the cult, we open ourselves up to others and become more engaged. And we make real friends.
I can categorically state that I am a much kinder, supportive and loving man to be around others. I look back at "who" I was in the organization and I simply reflected the mindless compliant, "sheep-like" mentality in which I could not tell who "I" really was.
I know that my personal life was heavily dependent on "direction" from the organization and that I likely came across as diffident, "needy" and anxious, to say the least.
I left the organization many years ago. I survived. I did not kill myself (I had been suicidal in the organization. If I had remained, I would have surely been another suicide.
The fact that I am alive - and thriving - can still astonish me. That my friends, family and colleagues genuinely like me as a man speaks volumes.
A couple of years ago I was shopping when I ran into an elder and his wife from my congregation. I knew them well and had attended the book study at their house. It had been about 2 years since hubby and i had learned ttatt.
They were friendly and asked the usual "How ARE you" to which I replied fine. At the time we were actually going through a very difficult time caring for my elderly JW MIL with dementia but I didn't want to give them the satisfaction of thinking my life was hard because I "left Jehovah".
The funny thing is that they went on and on about how good I looked. Haha! "Evidently" freedom looks good on me. :)
JWs are under a lot of stress to conform to WT standards.
In addition, they are required to view non-Witnesses the way the WT tells them too.
Once freed from those pressures, they are free to be themselves and to like other people.
Given all that, it's not surprising that XJWs often come across as more relaxed and friendly.
I notice the difference in myself and so does my JW wife.
I have also lost 75 pounds and have many enjoyable pursuits and interests.
Yes, I think it is shameful what becoming a Witness does to a personality. Of course, I can admit this about myself now (and I was only a marginal type Witness) but when I was in I was oblivious to it, as was everybody else there about themselves.
I remember years ago being shocked at the change in the personality of the husband of an acquaintance when he became an elder. No more Mr. Nice Guy. I didn't even want to greet him anymore!
Yes, it is a depressing religion. They can go around trying to convince themselves how "happy" they are but we know that's a lie.
I agree that it is returning to your authentic self!