Has anyone else noticed how unattractive righteousness is?  I know it may seem like an odd question but for a few months now I’ve been noticing how down right ugly righteousness is.

I have seen it present itself on a road as walkers, bikers and drivers on this small island are vying for their space on the road.  “I have the right to take up the road”, says the group of walkers as they meet up with a group of bikers who believe “I have the right to ride side by side.”  And then a car comes towards it all, adding to the righteousness that their size demands a right to forge ahead demanding all get out of their way.  Scowling, angry hand gestures and/or yelling ensue and none of it looks very attractive (let alone thoughtful or kind.) The righteousness stand off begins!

It becomes so very apparent when two “wrongs” meet and each one wants to stand in their self righteousness and blame the other for doing the wrong.  For instance a biker rolling through a stop sign meets up with another biker doing the same thing.  Neither one of them wants to admit that they may have just seen themselves in the mirrored action of the other, they just want to point the finger of blame at the other for doing the wrong thing.  The beautiful opportunity to smile in recognition of the common action and be grateful that no harm occurred is missed, and what remains tends to look very dark, moody and angry.

For some reason righteousness tends to lead us down the road of actions that appear unkind, especially when we feel threatened or fearful.  We start telling one another how they were wrong, or what they should have done right, both of which bring on a churlish response.  The slippery slope of unpleasant magnifies as the person being accused of doing wrong will often retaliate with more unpleasant. No one is feeling goodness and down the rabbit hole we go…..

Self responsibility, when we recognize that our actions may be colliding with another, can help us tremendously when in collaboration with kindness.  Seeing the situation from the eyes of sharing rather than competing is another way to combat the ugly nature of righteousness. We find ourselves somewhere between courtesy and gentility when we open our eyes and hearts to one another.  In the nature of sharing, righteousness no longer holds its grip on our spirit demanding us to spew out fiery barbs, it softens into a feeling that is reciprocally beneficial.

We all have rights, yet it is a dangerous and ugly spirit within when we see our individual rights are more important than how our rights relate with others.   Two people meeting with the right for space, viewing their rights over another creates disharmony, disconnection, and often aggression.  Yet two people with the right for space, who also see that other’s rights are valid will find a way to share the space in a thoughtful, kind way.  Who knows, they may share a laugh or a phone number.

Self reflecting on your own moments of righteousness gives you an opportunity to offer a kinder, thoughtful and gentle sense of yourself into the world.  As this New Year begins why not take some time to be aware of your own moments of righteousness and open to softening into understanding and sharing.  I’m in on that!  See you at the crossroads.


posted on Saturday, January 4th, 2014. follow responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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