Repeatedly, readers share stories with me about others denigrating their beliefs—some to the point of condemnation by loved ones and fellow parishioners. Many of us have been there, losing confidence in our role on Earth and, even worse, questioning our worthiness of Divine Love.

I’ve been told I can’t be Christian. That I’m corrupting others. And I’m heading to hell because of my renovated spiritual views. At first, I took that to heart and permitted their criticism to control me. That was until I realized I was allowing those people to stall my spiritual journey.

I no longer permit my faith to be minimized by those espousing conflicting ideologies. I recognize the effect of their negativity and accept that they are entitled to their own beliefs. But, just because they believe one way, doesn’t mean I have to buy into that same concept. And, I hope you’ll make the same decision.

If you internalize their criticism, they control you

For years, I refused to face the existence of positive paranormal, believing one church’s doctrine that it was all demonic. When I recognized that that teaching didn’t match my experiences, I was finally able to free myself from guilt. Like me, once you shed others’ notions and pay attention to the lessons God is teaching you, your spirituality will soar.

Don’t allow peer pressure to change the course of your spiritual walk. Only you know what is right in your heart and what direction your journey needs to take. When you are on the right track, you’ll experience a passion and feeling that you’ve never been as alive as you are while performing your life’s purpose.

You don’t have to fit others’ ideals of a godly person

When someone is a bit too exuberant about their beliefs and pressures you to adopt them, be aware of your response. We like to be liked, so at times, we’ll try others’ ideas to see if they fit. Follow your heart and intuition to see if their way of looking at God is compatible with your views.

Be confident in your spiritual self

When people make you feel your journey in faith isn’t valid, recognize their right to disagree with you and then let it go. It’s great they’re committed to their paths, but you need to find your distinct passion, joy and life’s meaning.

By communing with God—whether it’s through studying inspirational text, being in nature, immersing yourself in music, praying or meditating—you can gain insight as to what your spiritual journey should be.