We always need to be right, don’t we?
We are always trying to validate our views, get the last word in. We seem to be have an in-built instinct to prove ourselves correct in some way or another, regardless of the context—whether it’s about matters of global importance or just some random nonsense.
Somehow, proving ourselves right seems to give us an edge, supplying us with a misplaced sense of gratification and self-righteousness.
I was speaking with a good friend of mine some time ago, and at a certain point in the conversation, we got bogged down by this mutual propensity to always be in the right.
We didn’t even really seem to have a clear-cut disagreement, though we both kept on asserting our respective points. I can’t even recall what we were talking about exactly, and that’s really the point here. What we were talking about didn’t actually matter, or at least didn’t seem to matter. It had much more to do with how we were talking to each other, and this underlying need we both had to be “right”—so much so that it came to take precedence over the actual discussion.
When we suddenly both recognized this, our recognition was accompanied by a slew of laughter. This laughter was the only real truth that existed here, because it was fairly clear that everything else was bullsh*t.
Regardless of who was more in the right or who was making the more concise points, we both knew in that moment that the laughter itself was much more valuable than the words we were speaking because it was totally pure and authentic. Whether we were “right” or not, which is a pretty abstract notion anyhow, was entirely secondary to the actual communication between us at that moment.
I feel like this happens all the time. This assertion to be right invariably disconnects us from one another, makes it nearly impossible to be in contact with each other in any deep or truthful way.
If I’m right then you’re wrong.
This is the sort of dualistic thinking that turns me off. If we’re coming from two different angles and I’m vehemently affirming my perspective, then I must be in some way devaluing your perspective.
Now, of course, this doesn’t have to be the case—and we can occasionally avoid it entirely—but the point is that when we give so much credence to being right, we make authentic relationships all the more difficult.
Being right is overrated.
There is surely something much more meaningful than being correct and, as far as I can tell, it has something to do with being deeply and honestly connected with other people, truly understanding where other people are coming from.
Understanding one another has to take precedence over being right. It simply must, otherwise we not only lose our sincerity, but our connection to one another as well, which is the most important thing in this life.
Of course, I don’t mean to imply that it is wrong to disagree. Disagreements are a natural and necessary aspect of human interaction, but we also need to see that, ultimately, we all want the same things. Disagreeing is one thing, but continually proclaiming our “rightness” and presuming that our opinions are absolute facts is obviously problematic.
So, rather than assume that we are right and they are wrong, let us try simply listening to one other.
Rather than probing for idiosyncrasies and semantic discrepancies, let’s merely attempt to understand as deeply as possible what the other is actually expressing.
If we might truly understand each other, have a sense of what the other person means, then we can connect in ways that we hadn’t thought were possible. We can truly be one, and I don’t mean that in some kind of weird voodoo way. What I mean is that we can be as closely aligned with each other as possible, integrated with each other on the level of soul. Here, we can truly see ourselves in the other and recognize our inherent sameness as humans.
To embody this truth is to live as one vast, cosmic family.
Author: Samuel Kronen
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Editor: Khara-Jade Warren