Their villainy and my virtue

“As long as we maintain a picture of others’ villainy and our own virtue, we feel morally justified in our anger or frustration.” - Joseph Grenny, Vital Smarts

I read this quote as part of a response from Joseph Grenny to a reader about a specific situation in that reader’s life.  I stopped and re-read it because the truth of this statement has depth and extension into a myriad of life’s interactions with other people. 

  • How do you view those with political views different from yours? How do you speak about them?

  • What about those who have different religious views from you?

  • How do you see people who grew up in different parts of your country? World?

  • How do you view those who are really wealthy? Those who are in poverty?

  • What do you believe about the person who just cut you off in traffic?

  • What do you think about the person at work who doesn’t do what you expect or who seems to be guarding their turf?

The answers contain stories that you may have begun to believe. That belief will help you feel justified.  It may also keep you feeling tense and angry, giving the situation unnecessary energy and power that keeps you from living with contentment and peace. It may rob you of humor and joy. 

Are there any of your stories that might be worth re-examining?