Lately I've been thinking a lot about a part of the human condition that can sometimes be fairly unpleasant: the overwhelming desire to be right. I've seen it pop up in a handful of my own relationships recently and I've listened to the woes of friends struggling in this desire, too, much more than usual. As I've heard their stories and considered their positions (many of which are quite justifiable), my main questions to them in response have been:
Why? Why is it so important for you to be told "OK, you're right" in order to move forward?
And then, What are you sacrificing for this desire?
Yes, folks want to be understood.
Heck, half the time folks just want to be heard. I wholeheartedly get that.
But I ask you: at what cost? What is the price you are paying to feel the fleeting gratification in an acknowledgement of "right" and is it, I wonder, truly worth it?
Now, this doesn't mean we should openly allow negative behaviors (or opinions) of others to continue affecting us by shrugging our shoulders with a sad oh well, nothing to be done; this is not what I mean by the gentler path to take in the possibility of finding peace. We certainly do not (should not!) need to condone or accept anything in our lives that makes our spirits feel small or pushes us down a path we don't feel fit to be taking. But I wonder what would happen if we gave up the need to be right in order to just be, instead...
Some harder learned truths about fighting to be "right":
The degree to which the perceived need to be right affects the possibility of making a safe, smooth exit from an unpleasant situation is the same as, directionally speaking, continuously making a right turn to get out of a bad place and on to your desired destination; you just end up driving in circles, landing back exactly where you started, over and over again, each time with a greater degree of frustration, disappointment and regret.
Everyone approaches all disagreements from varying levels of consciousness. No matter how great we are with communication, we are never fully sharing the same experience with others.
You can't rationalize with an irrational person (or a stubborn one...or an ego sensitive one...), so consider the real triumph in releasing, instead.
So this is where I am now and where I encourage you to join me; releasing the desire to be right. Creating a safe space around myself that welcomes differing opinions while also leaving room for these opinions to gracefully exit my bubble of self truths so that I may continue to live my life in whatever way works best for me.
If folks want to chase you down, wagging their fingers, spewing off their laundry list of offenses (and defenses) in the hopes you will bend to them, it will be at the expense of their own wasted energy...energy that could be so, so much better spent...not yours. Let them be the ones to turn in at night exhausted and defeated while you can rest easy knowing the peace in your soul is self-created and not stemming from a moment of ego-based satisfaction. My mental mantra is (per the suggestion of Ms. Gabby Bernstein): I accept that you are suffering too, and I forgive you. I accept that you are suffering too, and I release this.
I love this quote from Paulo Coelho:
"We human beings have enormous difficulty in focusing on the present; we're always thinking about what we did, about how we could have done it better, about the consequences of our actions, and about why we didn't act as we should have. Or else we think about the future, about what we're going to do tomorrow, what precautions we should take, what dangers await us around the next corner, how to avoid what we don't want and how to get what we have always dreamed of."
I'd argue the same sentiment can be true for how we project these past/future swirlings on to others, as well, in our struggle to be right: Never allowing the peace in the present to take root by ping ponging back and forth from each end of the worry/fear spectrum. It's exhausting, no?
It's like what my dad tells me: live your life, kid.
So just keep living your life. Right here, right now. Be the living example or proof you are looking to verbally provide in a disagreement or point of conflict in your days.
Let it go, let it be, move forward instead of in circles.
And Be Free,