Your Righteous Indignation is Eating Away Your Life

Posted Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I can barely stand it anymore. All the hatred directed at all sides. Conservatives and Liberals. Gays and Christians. Gun owners and gun control advocates. Everyone believes that they are right and the other side is evil. We have lost sight of each other's humanity and the truth is that our anger is making ZERO impact on the other side. Truth is our anger is actually hurting ourselves.

An example:

It went viral. This video by a newswoman in Lacrosse, Wisconsin. She was hurt. Her husband came to her defense on Facebook. Someone sent her a note about her weight.

Female Wisconsin News Anchor Speaks Out (0:59)

The response has been incredible. Hundreds of fans have rushed to her support. She labeled him a bully on air. The name calling hasn't stopped there with basically every name from A to Z being sent his way.

I'm definitely in the minority here when I say that this video isn't about bullying or obesity or anything really that most people are making it about.

For me, it's about leadership. It's about living in the world with people that judge—with self-judgement being the most prevalent.

I am convinced that until we can respond to our own hurt effectively, we will continue to limit our ability to make the impact that we want to make in the world. 

This TV anchor was hurt—obviously. In spite of all the praise she has received, I say she actually became the person she was criticizing. She used her power to call him a name (a bully) and she and her husband have done so repeatedly. This is not uncommon. Those most stung by the pain of others words learn their power and make them their weapon of choice. 

When was the last time that someone's words or actions towards you hurt you? Really stung you. What did you do with it?

One of the best and shortest books I have ever read is Don Miguel Ruiz's The Four Agreements. The idea is to live your life at peace—truly loving others and loving yourself. If you can live all four agreements, you can do this according to Ruiz. The Second Agreement is salient here: Don't Take Anything Personally.

"When you take things personally, then you feel offended, and your reaction is to defend your beliefs and create conflicts. You make something big out of something so little because you have the need to be right and make everybody else wrong. You also try hard to be right by giving them your own opinions."

The news anchor makes a point about teaching our children to stop bullying. I have a better idea. I say let's teach children the things that will make bullying impossible. Let's teach self-love. Let's teach self-acceptance. Let's teach children how to NOT take things personally. We are a long ways from this but this would transform our world. Imagine a world where we don't react to the poison that others spew at us. Won't their power disappear?

The best method for teaching this is to model it. People say mean things. It's about them though. Not you.

When I take your praise and your poison from a place of self-acceptance. I live at peace with you and can love and be loved. I am good with me. I don't need your validation. I don't need your criticism. I can learn from both because they tell me about my own impact on the world around me. They teach me about my leadership. 

Think about the last time you were hurt by someone's words…really hurt. Now, ask yourself what you would have done differently had you simply assumed their words were about themselves? What would you have done differently if you would have responded with acceptance? Try it next time. See what happens.

Check out our last 6 eNewsletters:

November 4, 2016--Crossing the Continental Divide (Both Literally and Metaphorically)

May 13, 2016-Are You Embracing Your Goo?

April 6, 2016--Micromanagement is Good Management

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