Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Wrestling with Righteousness

I’ve come across a lot of ‘righteous people’ of late and it has got me thinking about the topic. I consider a ‘righteous person’ as someone who clings passionately to a belief and then filters everything through a couple of utterly devout principles, imposing their fanatical values at any opportunity.

What is interesting is that all these righteous people I have dealt with, have been completely devoid of logic in the areas that they are righteous about. There is very little reasoning with them in this area if they’re not ready to question themselves. Furthermore, their righteousness has not been exported from a religious text nor are they concerned with being ‘law abiding citizens’, nor are they defending long-held cultural values. Their righteousness beliefs are all self created and somewhat randomly assigned.

A limited decision will drive your thoughts from the back of your unconscious mind, whereas a righteous belief is gripped onto with evangelical enthusiasm and steers your everything. Righteous beliefs are the captain of your ship! Any psychologist, NLP practitioner, life coach is well placed to start their analysis on what their client is most righteous about. Because when you start to unpick the basis for the righteous beliefs, they all have one thing in common: these beliefs are created from a place of severe pain. In my experimentation of the last few weeks, I’ve learned that most righteousness comes from deep-seated insecurities and misinterpreted references from wwaaaaaaay back.

We are all righteous in some way or another. We all have a few guiding principles that we live by. We try and impose it on others because the world would just be a better place if everyone…..[insert righteous belief here]

Righteousness is a powerful tool when our beliefs are based on logical deduction and support our aims for life. Having an evangelical enthusiasm about ‘I’m worth more than what I have right now’ is hugely supportive to your personal development, confidence and will assist you in reaching your goals. But even then, it can still be abrasive!

For example: I have a very supportive righteous belief – healthy eating. But, going to a restaurant with me can be an exhausting experience, I like to help people choose their dishes, shepherd them to the salad bar and try to switch everyone’s beverage choices to increase their vitamin intake (why choose coke when there’s pure apple juice available? – crazy!) My husband and I ate out a week ago; my husband got so cross with me that we ate the entire first course in silence because I chastised his choices. This righteous belief of mine comes from a personal pain – fear from cancer/ heart disease/ other bad shit, but also from my vanity – fear of gaining weight, aging, bad skin and looking like a troll. My righteous belief is supportive, I want to keep myself and everyone around me healthy. However by doing this – my belief sucks the enjoyment out of everyone else’s experience and creates a psychologically unhealthy atmosphere.

So, ask yourself:

1) Are your righteous beliefs even worth getting righteous about or are they just mad capped notions you’ve nurtured since you were a child?

2) Are your righteous beliefs your ticket to significance in some realm of your life?

3) Do your righteous beliefs support you? Are they congruent with where you want to go? My friend wants to start her own business but she’s absolutely righteous that you should never borrow money of anyone, ever! Whilst this has kept her out of debt and she lives comfortably within her means - she doesn’t have huge savings – so how’s she going to finance her (expensive) project? I questioned her about this and asked what she thought about entrepreneurs who started businesses with borrowed capital. Cheats! Hear that Richard Branson? You cheated!

4) Even though your righteous beliefs are supporting and empowering, do they make those around you want to slit their wrists with the nearest sharp implement as soon as you start spouting off :-)? Do you need to tone it down a little to preserve something else?