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The Dangerous Trap Of Self-Righteousness

As human beings we often categorize things as being right or wrong which ultimately creates separation and division.

A quick research on the web reveals that being self-righteous is characterized by a certainty, especially an unfounded one, that one is totally correct or morally superior.

Coming from that point of view, I think it’s fair to say, we all suffer from the self-righteous syndrome from time to time. We think we are better than the next or previous one because of xyz.

Self-righteousness destroys a lot of relationships and families. If someone is right someone else has to be wrong. It’s usually when we are afraid or hurt that we become self-righteous. During those moments, we often forget that we’re all here doing what we can with the tools we have. Some people have more or less tools to deal with their emotions and fulfill their needs properly.

Self-righteousness is also at the foundation of religious, racial, sexual, social and political wars.

What is right or wrong anyway?

Well to me, any conscious choice that physically/emotionally endangers or puts someones well-being at risk is morally wrong.

Inflicting any type of physical or emotional pain on a voluntary basis is not okay. If you know someone is getting hurt, but you choose to act despite of that knowing, something is not right.

Anyway..

This post is not a lesson of morality or ethic. Or maybe it is. I don’t know. I’ve been self-righteous many times in the past. I felt like I was perfect. I thought the world owe me something. It never occurred to me that my attitude was separating me from truly getting in touch with the core of me thereby preventing me from connecting with others on a deeper level as well. I was living on the surface refusing to really take a deep look inside myself. I thought I was so open minded but in reality, I was not so much.

With a lot of introspection, I understand that self-righteousness stands from denial and rejection of the self. We often feel superior to people we feel we have nothing in common with, without realizing by doing so, we are belittling very specific parts of ourselves.

Let’s say for example that a man thinks that males should not wear pink or act feminine and that any man who chooses to do so is somehow inferior. In his self-righteousness, he’s not realizing that he’s restraining himself from exploring a whole spectrum of human emotions. He’s denying specific parts of himself.

I’m sure you can come up with many other examples like that. The importance here is not so much the different case studies but that you understand what I’m trying to say.

Self-righteousness stems from deep insecurity. It is a defense mechanism that finds roots in ego land.

Our ego is designed to protect us and assure our survival. In order to do that, the ego must be right at all cost to avoid being vulnerable. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to protect oneself, especially when the threat is real like a saber-toothed tiger or someone threatening us physically/emotionally.

But those are extreme cases. In most circumstances, the threats are not real. The only reason why it feels so real is because it requires us to question parts of who we are. And frankly, a lot of people are not about or even closed to be ready to do that. Some because they think they don’t have to (self-righteous individuals), others because they are afraid of the unknown. We are scared of being judged. We want to be perfect. We want people to see us only under a specific light.

Well look. Here’s the thing. Being self-righteous highly limits our human potential and prevents others as well as our own self to connect with the core of who we are.

The trick is to just let go of idealism and embrace your own uniqueness. Stop trying to label yourself and fit where you don’t. Give yourself the right to be original and imperfect.

Infinite love, health, healing, wealth, success, happiness, awareness, peace and wisdom your way


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5 thoughts on “The Dangerous Trap Of Self-Righteousness

  1. Good point. I just finished Jordan Peterson’s Self Authoring program. Something I already knew, but refused to look at was that I need to ‘grow some teeth’. Self righteous people or those verbally stronger than myself can bowl me over, bend me and twist me into knots way too easily. He says you need to know how to be cruel. Like a martial artist knows how to inflict great pain and because he knows how, he also learns to recognize when someone is attempting to inflict pain right from the start. He becomes the master. He can chose to walk away or stand to defend himself, not self righteously, but by applying just the perfect pressure to turn the assailants blows, maybe even send the person running and avoid the fight.

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    1. Thank you Eric. Self-righteous people can easily destabilize it’s true but not because they are stronger but because they make themselves appear stronger. I used to be guilty for it you know. I was insecure and suffered from perfectionism. Story of the past.

      I like what you say here. There’s also a saying in the martial arts world that the best form of self-defense is not putting yourself in a position where you have to defend yourself. An excellent quote from Bill Nelson.

      Hope all is well with you 😊

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      1. Rolling along here. YOU used to be guilty? No way!!
        Right, and not putting yourself in that position might come from recognizing it the minute is starts to appear so you can call it out and not get a foothold. But that comes from training, practice and mindfulness.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well, yes ME lol. I’m far from being perfect. There was a time in my life Eric I was struggling between trying to be who I wanted to be and the person I thought my mother wanted me to. Turns out she doesn’t give a shit either way so I guess I’m just going to be me now. I was not a mean person per se, telling everybody they were wrong, I isolated myself from the world a lot during those years. I tend to isolate myself from the world when I get in my self-righteous mentality.

        For me the world used to be a frightening big mess with a lot of wrong, dishonest and mean people. I thought for a long time I didn’t belong in it because It’s very hard for me to relate to what appears to me as illogical and non-moral behaviors…

        For a very long time, I thought I was the only person with strong moral values. But turns out, a lot of people do know the meaning of interpersonal ethics and are able to be authentic.

        They are not easy to find because I realize they often tend to avoid the crowd or the herd. But they exist and they are out there.

        So yeah, that’s what I mean by I used to be guilty for being self-righteous.

        Today I understand isolation is not a way of life. I’m punishing myself for people who could not care less. There will always be dishonest people. The trick is to remain authentic and focus on those who are authentic as well. Now that I understand that, it has gotten much easier to find where I belong. Because I know where I do not…

        And when I find myself in presence of someone I think is wrong for being who they are, I do a lot of introspection and meditate on the reasons why I feel like that… But if it brings me too much despair, I love myself enough to either walk away or take time to recharge when I need to recharge. I still do isolate myself but I no longer feel weird for it. It no longer comes from a place of “hiding from the monsters” because I now understand I don’t have to interact with them if it’s too much for me.

        I also understand that spending time alone is a necessary part of the healing process. True healing requires some level of loneliness. When I feel ready, I just put myself back out there but in ways that are in alignment with who I feel I am. I’m slowly learning to focus on my own energy when in presence of people I feel are not in alignment with who I am. It prevents me from absorbing undesired vibrations. I understand they are who they are and it has nothing to do with me. And if they are too draining to be around and I have to spend time with them, I just spend less time with them. I minimize my interactions with those people.

        But as I’m learning to be less self-righteous and see that we’re all doing the best we can, I see that some people are just unconscious of who they are. They are not conscious of the pain they inflict etc… It seems weird at first, but it’s true. Some people do not have the ability to apologize or recognize their wrong. It makes them feel too low because they already have a very low self-esteem. They don’t have the capacity to act and reach higher places. The high road requires a lot of character and strong attributes. It`s not for the faint of the heart to introspect and constantly try to improve oneself.

        Practicing detachment brings me a lot of peace and freedom because I understand it`s not my job to elevate others. It’s their job to grow and progress. And even if I think they should change, it’s not my place to decide or do it for them. I just let go and focus on the things I can control. I’m much happier.

        I understand that angry people are angry and will bring anger. Judgemental people judge and will bring judgment. Sad people are sad and will bring sadness… etc. Each person is being who they are in their understanding of the world. It has nothing to do with me. With that understanding I know where they are coming from and let them be. It gets easier to understand and adapt to how they would expect me to be. Not that I become who they want me to, but if I’m capable to adapt, I just do it. If I can’t, I don’t and let it be.

        Sometimes a leader must follow to ease things up because some people are less adaptable and don’t have the ability to be flexible. That’s just my take.

        If you watch the Walking Dead for instance, Negan does not have the ability to be flexible but Rick does. While many people may think Rick is weaker than Negan, it’s the exact opposite. The ability to be flexible makes him stronger and more respectable. Rick adapted to Negan for a while because he knew in his right mind it was the only logical thing to do. People follow Rick because he can adapt. Negan is being followed out of fear.

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      3. Ya, people who are authentic! I’ve been formulating a theory about that.
        I wonder if it’s at least a 3 part alignment to authenticity. 1. ideas bubble up and a thought is constructed. 2. Words are formed to express this thought. 3. Action is taken to carry or manifest the thought. I think the people who are authentic have alignment with all three. I’ve run into many people who speak with fork tongue. Actions don’t match words. Maybe it doesn’t happen in exactly that order, but there is alignment with thoughts, words, actions.
        alignment can be; I’m going to steal that loaf of bread. You make a plan. Then steal it for whatever reason. Misguided alignment, but alignment none the less.
        Ya have to watch and listen to people very carefully.

        I don’t watch Living Dead, but I get the idea of being flexible, like a willow tree withstands a hurricane better than an oak. But ya have to make sure, when you’re being flexible that you’re not giving away your authenticity.
        Great response. Thanks for taking time here.

        Liked by 1 person

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