“I’m right!” This must mean that “you’re wrong.” Bummer for you. You don’t agree? “You either believe my beliefs or I’m done with you!”
You see, anytime we’re in a disagreement where either or both parties are closed-minded (convinced they’re right), there’s no connection and it’s an impossible conversation.
What are your views on self-righteousness? To me, it’s not respecting someone else’s opinion, beliefs and insights (“It’s my way or the highway”).
Self-righteousness delivers the message that your mind is closed. You won’t even consider other possibilities.
Is your mind open or closed, or does it depend on the topic? When you get in a disagreement, are you able to create an opening for the other person’s position or do you need them to agree with you?
What happens if they don’t agree with you?
When you’re closed-minded, you have some underlying fear in which you self-identify and won’t tolerate any disparity from the “other side.” You need others to be loyal to your belief.
When you get stuck in one polarity, you become a “topic” extremist.
It looks like this: I hate…(here we go): Republicans, Democrats, Liberals, Conservatives, Pro-Choicers, Pro-Lifers, Christians, Muslims, Gays, Straights, Whites, Blacks, Browns, the Police, Women, Men, Pitbulls, Chihuahuas, and on and on and on.
Anything you hate controls you because you are owned by your limiting belief.
Would you consider that there are three sides to every argument…to every story? There’s my side, your side, and the side (that consists of a vast ocean of possibilities) in between. Or put differently, there’s my truth, your truth, and THE truth.
We all have opinions…finding the middle ground is what will bring us closer together and away from the polarizing separation. The middle ground helps us accept and respect, not agree with, the other’s perspective.
The middle ground helps us connect.
Personally? I’m a fence-sitter on almost every topic…a “live and let live” kinda girl. Yet, there are areas where I tend to get self-righteous (just keeping it real). Full disclosure? Sure…I’ll give it a shot.
Discrimination. Definitely closed-minded to discrimination. When I see someone get targeted based on their ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, body image, or socio-economic class, I react (fight or flight).
The last time I looked, we are all human, with a beating heart and air flowing in and out of our lungs (that was a self-righteously affirming statement). Since I’ve experienced discrimination, I know how icky it feels, so seeing someone discriminated against sends me into a self-righteous tailspin. I just realized that I discriminate against discriminators. Nice insight 🙂.
Violence and abuse. Seeing others hurt, victimized, targeted, or abused hurts my heart. I am closed-minded to violent video games, any animal fighting or abuse, child or partner abuse, sexual abuse…I simply hate violence and it scares me.
I get stuck in my belief that normalizing violence (on TV, in video games, in sports, etc.) sends a message, especially to growing children, that violence is normal. It’s not normal and it’s not okay (It feels like I’m going to stay self-righteous in this belief for a while). And an awareness: I get angry when I experience violence, which is a deflection from the scared part of me that wants it to end. That anger is an inner violence…which becomes self-righteousness…which is a horrible feeling.
I’m curious… if you have an awareness of your self-righteousness and how it impacts your life?
If you are stuck in your beliefs, then you have no choice but to dismiss other people’s experiences because you fear that your belief is being threatened…that it’s under attack. This is how self-righteousness gets ignited. This is how wars are started.
There are numerous possibilities and perspectives filling the space between two close-minded people.
Try to explore the middle ground and get curious about the areas where your mind is closed. Ask yourself what part of you feels threatened and how you might find a place to let your guard down. Talk to others with different beliefs and be curious about their lives.
After all, stepping toward each other to create understanding, kindness, compassion, and open conversations is what will help us come together. Sitting on the other side, with a closed-mind, stewing in self-righteousness, will only create more separation, more violence, and less peace. And that, we don’t want…said my self-righteous self. Buddha agrees 🕉.
- Where and when do you become self-righteous?
- How do you act and what do you do when you find yourself in a disagreement with someone who carries a different belief than you?
- Can you find a place of ownership and explore why you need their agreement?