Find Out If You Are, How It Can Hurt You & What To Do
Note: I found this article within an hour of talking to my best friend,
Speed, about my awareness that sometimes I come from a place that
sounds self-righteous, even to me when I'm talking. You can read about
my latest wake-up call to my becoming more sensitive to this behavior,
in today's blog posting.
People who are self-righteous may defend their need
to instill their beliefs on others as simply standing up for what they believe
in. However, self-righteousness veers off from expressing your beliefs in a few
key ways, namely that self-righteous people believe they are always right,
superior and more knowledgeable than those around them.
Self-righteousness can drive people to squelch the
dreams of their friends (you’ll never be able to do that!), offend people at work
(that idea is ridiculous!), and alienate family members
(you’re going to marry him?!). They offer their opinions
even when they’re not wanted, and feel compelled to make you agree with said
opinions, because, after all, they are the right ones.
And while it is possible to be just a little
self-righteous and therefore not cause much offense to anyone, people who are
too self-righteous may:
- Be quick to judge others
- Belittle those around
- Be smug
- Act condescending
- Be narrow-minded
intolerant of other people’s faults
- Believe that they have the answer for
everyone else’s problems
Meanwhile, self-righteous people often have a very
hard time being empathetic. They only view the world through their own eyes, and
cannot even fathom walking in someone else’s shoes.
But aside from the risk of annoying or insulting the
people in their lives, people who are too self-righteous are also too sure of
their own opinions. In other words, they will stick to them at any cost, and
often refuse to hear opposing arguments. They will also never change their
opinions based on new information they have received, with the end result being
a very closed, intolerant and often prejudiced realm of experience.
“If you feel you are right you automatically create
the artificial tension of right and wrong. This causes you to feel like you have
to defend your position and ignore the other position, lest you be proved wrong.
This blocks open and honest communication,” says Hale Dwoskin, CEO and director
of training of Sedona Training Associates.
If you recognize some of these traits in yourself,
realize that having a closed existence (and putting off other’s beliefs) can
cause you to miss opportunities at work and in your personal life.
What often drives excess self-righteousness is fear.
Fear of the unknown, fear of losing control, fear of realizing you may have been
wrong. But if you release this
fear by tapping into your inner ability to let go
of negative emotions, you will find that being more open-minded and less
judgmental is actually freeing.
The Sedona Method can also help you to release the need to always be right
so that you can experience empathy and welcome the thoughts,
ideas and opinions of those around you.
“One of the best ways to move beyond wanting to be
right is to let go of wanting to be right and be open to a solution or
resolution beyond right or wrong,” Dwoskin says. “Then everyone wins – including
And remember, by letting go of self-righteousness,
you are opening yourself to a richer, more fulfilling life.