HEADS UP! This is sort of a rant about people who rant.
Yes, I do see the irony here. But, I’m letting you “in the panty drawer” so that my bravery may inspire bravery in others.
Can there be anything more insufferable than a person who knows everything?
Lately, I’ve been brushing up against a lot of know-it-alls out there.
I don’t know if it’s the upcoming elections, our upcoming move, or what — but people are really convinced of their “rightness.”
They know what’s right for me.
They know what’s right for you.
They know what’s right for strangers across the country — even in other countries.
They know what’s right for family members.
They know what’s right for my children. They know what’s right for yours.
They know what’s right for schools, investments, sexuality, marriage – a lot of knowing going on out there.
They’re in your beds, they’re at your supper table. They’re at your church, your synagogue, your nonbeliever temple in the woods.
They’re between you and your banker, you and your lover, you and your grocer. They know what color food you should eat and have opinions about the sustainability of what you keep in your crisper.
They know what kind of car you should drive or if you should bike everywhere at all times. Some of them even have opinions about whether you should flush for “Number 1″ or “Number 2.”
They’re everywhere except where they need to be — tending to the rightness of their own (spiritual) houses.
Remember when you were younger and, perhaps, in love for the very first time? Remember as you gazed upon your beloved in a restaurant somewhere and some older person felt compelled to come up to you and mutter, “Just wait. It won’t last.”
Why do people do that?
I’m just guessing, but I think it may be this:
The self-righteousness of some people is really just FEAR dressed in Wisdom Drag. (click to tweet) Yes, that includes mine, too! I see me seeing you instead of looking at beautiful, not-quite-thoroughly healed ME!!
As a person who’s getting older every day, that is NOT the way I want to be seen by others.
I want to remain teachable.
Just because I bought something ONCE in my lifetime 15 years ago, does not mean I know everything there is to know about buying a new one of those things today. Just because, 30 years ago, I went to college, does NOT mean I know everything there is to know about college today.
Just because I’ve been sober 23 years, DOES NOT mean I know everything there is to know about living a sober life today — certainly not that.
OH, and by the way, the genetic make-up of your body parts does NOT entitle you to — well, anything. And that’s equally true whether you’re sporting an X or a Y.
I want to be open to new ideas. I fear the stagnation of my own curiosity because I dread the resultant sludge of closed-mindedness that is its inevitable handmaiden.
Now that I’ve blown off the steam that’s been gathering by my reactions to (other) insufferable people, here’s the spiritual karm-o-matic question that I must ask myself at this point:
Why am I becoming snagged on what “they” are or aren’t doing? When I am pointing my righteous indignation finger at you, it’s almost always because there is some wound in me that needs tending.
What is it about insufferably “right” people that is so off-putting? And why is it so difficult for me to feel compassion in my own heart when I find it lacking in yours?
FURTHER, where am I-I-I insufferably right? (If you’re lost, read the last few hundred words.)
Here’s a spiritual test — if you feel compassion at my lack of compassion for others with “lower” compassion levels than I, then you’re ahead. Unless, of course, you don’t believe in all that “ahead/behind” stuff.
Anyway, as you can clearly see, I’m not there yet. I AM working on it, though.
P.S. – If you wonder if I’m talking about you, here’s how you’ll know — If you get what I’m talking about, it isn’t you. If you’re balking — even just a little bit — then, um — anyone got a mirror?
If that be the case, you can either try (like I am) to stretch your compassion-muscle just a tad. Or, if this bit of truth-telling is really just too much, you can hit the “unsubscribe” button below. (I hope you won’t do that, though. We need to stick together so we can learn from each other.)
Photo: flickr, katclay