Self-Righteous Indignation

“Once you create a self-justifying storyline, your emotional entrapment within it quadruples.”
Pema Chödrön

I’m going to blame this on the full moon’s influence. A friend of mine took offense and I was left, scratching my head in disbelief. Not that I’m perfect because I’m light-years away. I’m grateful too because my imperfections allow me to see myself in others.

Someone yells, “Who Do you think you are?” or the almighty, “What gives you the right to…?” Sometimes without knowing, we step on someone’s’ toes, or did we?

One definition of self-righteous indignation is:

Having or characterized by a certainty, especially an unfounded one,
that one is totally correct.

In other words, when those questions come out of our mouth, they’re not true. Conversely, when communicated by others, we can be sure self-righteous indignation is about their own agenda. One interpretation of self-righteous indignation is a jealous-emotion that someone got away with something. It is easy to confuse truth from lies about ourselves when we are the ones infused with emotion.

Consider road rage. Someone cuts us off, squeezes ahead of us, makes an illegal turn and there we are—ready to scream, hit the brakes, hit the horn, curse and unleash our anger, sometimes to the point of physically engaging.


How do we stop allowing others to live rent-free in our heads? How do we stop participating in this energy that does nothing to promote inner-peace?


  1. We can take a step back and look at this for what it really is, an emotional excitement of the negative type.
  2. Getting out of the way helps. Do not engage; turn and walk away, maybe the very best solution. There is no reasoning with someone in the throes of their own implied importance. They are of the opinion theirs is the only one that matters while being overly judgmental, controlling and feeling they are morally correct.
  3. When we are the ones promoting self-righteous anger in recovery it would be wise if we stop to take a close look at behaviors and examine motives behind our engagement.

For instance, oftentimes this overwhelming emotion is the result of fear: someone wants to take something from them, someone threatens their superiority (and herein is the illusion of grandiosity). We pray instead, for humility because, in these moments, it is what is needed the very most.

When we look at our reactions to this dangerous emotion, “What is it about me” becomes the question. Do we need to engage? Absolutely not. Becoming balanced, while asking our Creator for support can go far to soothe an otherwise out of control ego.  Our serenity is much to precious to be hooked into the behavior of others. A dear friend once reminded me, “they know not what they do.”  I have found this to be true for me.

Has this been helpful to you? Please share!

2 thoughts on “Self-Righteous Indignation”

  1. Perfect information at exactly the right time. Funny how that works. I’m going to take some dissecting this even more. Thank you!

    1. Dear Janelle – so wonderful to see you here, thank you. For stopping by, for caring, and for enjoying the post. If
      you care to sign up for the newsletter, you’ll receive them automatically!

      So very fondly,

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