Righteous indignation has always been on my side. Whenever I see something that’s just not right — especially when it has to do with the innocent or helpless — I get angry. Not the raging kind of angry but righteously indignant kind of angry.
Even as a child I was the one who stood up for the kids who the class was teasing which didn’t enhance my popularity. But I did it anyway because of that righteous indignation. But aside from the mean little kids, my hometown stood for honor and integrity so there weren’t a lot of opportunities to trigger my righteous indignation. That all changed when I left my small southern town to live in a major metropolis.
Righteous indignation became my badge of honor. Whenever I saw someone being mistreated, taken advantage of, or just plain bullied, I would stand up for the downtrodden, no matter who or what they represented. I realize now that all that righteous indignation took up a ton of my energy in my 20s, 30s and 40s.
I never understood my strong reactions until I remembered my childhood horrors. All that righteous energy was created by those horrors. I couldn’t stand up for myself then – but I could stand up as an adult. Whenever I saw someone being abused, my childhood powerlessness comes back to me — front and center. Human, child, critter or environment — I stood up for it all.
Esther and Jerry Hicks (aka Abraham) shared an interesting perspective on righteous indignation. They taught me that we get righteously indignant when we see something that just isn’t right. We are usually right on — it isn’t a fair or honorable situation. But by focusing on what isn’t right, e.g., the negative, we are creating more negative energy. Even when we take a positive stance — in our righteous indignation we are negative.
That single observation changed the way I viewed my righteous indignation. Instead of seeing it as a badge of honor, it became a behavior that I wanted to change. And so I focused on pivoting every time I became indignant. Instead of focusing on what was wrong and why I was so upset I pivoted to focus on how the situation could be made right and fair.
The more I pivoted away from the indignation — the more empowered I felt. I learned that by fueling the righteous indignation — I was feeding my own negative energy. I was giving more power to the very scary voices that I wished to release. Because I was staying focused on the negative — reveling in my anger.
Today, I’ve released that righteous indignation. I rarely feel that twist in my gut and the desire to power something into submission.
By pivoting away from the indignation and its anger I’ve empowered my healing. All those years I thought I was standing up for truth, justice and the American way — I was actually hanging on to my own negative emotions.
Isn’t it amazing how tricky our subconscious can be?
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