Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Always Being Right Can Be Wrong
I'm one of those people who likes to be right. It gives me satisfaction to know that I have come up with a correct answer, or that my sage advice turned out to be on the money.
It's actually something I struggle with every day. I have this deep-down urge to be validated, and I want people to recognize me when I have something valuable to add.
But, as you know, constantly wanting (or needing) to be right has an incredibly high price tag associated with it. In the best circumstances, it leads to people regarding you as the "know it all." In the most severe cases, it leads to people not wanting to be around you at all. Essentially, the "know it all" is excommunicated from each and every group of which they once were a part.
Now, it hasn't nearly gotten that bad in my case, but I've seen it happen. In fact, I am sure all of us know of at least one person in our family or circle of friends who immediately can turn any joyful time into a tense situation. These kind of people suck the life out of everyone around them. They are joy-stealers. More than that, they are just plain miserable to be around.
When we make the choice to value our being "right" over the relationships we have with others, everyone suffers. When we always make things about who's right, who's wrong, who's best, who's worst, who knows the most, and who knows nothing, the consequences can be - and usually are - life-altering.
In the beginning this may not have been a big deal. But the occasional tiff - over time - can easily develop into a pattern of behavior that includes countless put-downs, ridicules, mockeries, and patronizing words that cannot be unsaid or undone. All because the "right" person or persons no longer sees others as valuable and meaningful.
Instead, they want the light shone on themselves. And, that's exactly what they get - more than they ever wanted. Because now the light shines so bright on them that they can no longer see others. And, as we all know, light exposes the things we try so desperately to hide sometimes.
The next time you are in an argument, or even if it's a friendly wager, fight the urge to be egotistical. Instead, be humble - genuinely humble - and refuse to steal others' joy.
Because there's something a whole lot more important than being right: being loved.