Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Need To Be Right

We live in a world with a lot of conflict--conflict between nations, cultures, organizations and individuals. Everyone has a set of beliefs, and when there are conflicting opinions, everyone wants to be right. It feels good when we're right about something, but needing to be right about everything all of the time has its price. Have you ever been debating an issue with someone trying to convince them that you know better? Did you feel that knot in your stomach getting tighter the longer you bantered back and forth? That knot pours acid into your stomach and makes your adrenal system work harder, not to mention what it does to your self-image if you lose. So why do we do it?

Our need to be right starts early in life. It's part of personality development, a way of dealing with everyday conflict. Have you ever watched a couple of kids arguing an issue? Then when one is proven correct or both are finally exhausted, one of them puts his shoulders back, grins and says, "See? I told you." Gosh, it felt good to be right. What is that need in us really about? It's like not winning the debate takes something away from us, diminishes us in some way. But when the other person backs down, we feel more important, more powerful. What is our motive in trying to convince someone we're right? Is the motive honorable, or is it to falsely validate our own worth, even if we really are wrong?

A long time ago someone said to me, "Would you rather be right or be happy, because sometimes you can't be both." So we have a choice. I think it's okay to offer someone your opinion or knowledge and provide reliable sources, but once that's done, allow the other person to accept what you've given them or keep their beliefs. And then drop it. It's also wise to listen to another's opinion. They might have something you can use to expand your own life. If not, that's okay too. You're already a wonderful creation, just fine as you are. You don't need to prove anything to anyone. You're more important than the issue anyway. So why not choose to be happy.

I wish you happy discussions with a calm stomach.

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