The Need to Always Be Right

In my blog of July 13, I shared a link to an article that reflected on a blog by inspirational writer, Luminita Saviac. Her blog is called Purpose Fairy. Saviac’s piece offers 15 secrets to serenity.  I thought I might write about each one over time as I have found these to be true for me. Here is the first secret:

1. Give up your need to always be right.

There are so many of us who can’t stand the idea of being wrong – wanting to always be right – even at the risk of ending great relationships or causing a great deal of stress and pain, for us and for others. It’s just not worth it. Whenever you feel the ‘urgent’ need to jump into a fight over who is right and who is wrong, ask yourself this question: “Would I rather be right, or would I rather be kind?” Wayne Dyer. What difference will that make? Is your ego really that big?

I was reading just this morning about the beliefs of Kabbalah, the Jewish mystical traditon. One idea struck me: “If judgment is not softened by love, it lashes out and threatens to destroy life.” Judgment, in my thinking, begins when one believes he or she is more right than someone else whether speaking about ideas or behaviors or even feelings. I perceive what you are thinking, acting or feeling to be in some way inferior to my way of thinking, acting or feeling. If I didn’t compare there would be no judgment.

So in a way, love is not comparing. One can see that what another is doing is harmful without judging. Seeing that harm is being done is simply seeing. And when we love another, we may point out to them this harm that results from their actions. After all, it is quite possible that this other person probably does not intend harm. Even if they do, this is none of our business. Their intentions are between them and God.

Because life is pretty good at teaching lessons, there is little need for us to jump in to argue the truth of our own beliefs. If what we believe true as in the Truth, then this will win out. The person who is misunderstanding or misbehaving will learn from experience what is true. So stepping back, not jumping in to argue, is an exercise of faith in God.

It is important to add that arguing one’s rightness rarely achieves anything but more harm. It puts people on the defensive and may drive them away. People who think they are right all the time tend to be lonely people. They are usually baffled as to why other don’t open up to them, why they don’t like to talk about important things with them.

When in doubt, I like the advice of the Kabbalah mystic: “Let love soften your judgment.” When choosing between proving you are right and kindness, choose the latter.

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3 Responses to The Need to Always Be Right

  1. nancy seidler says:

    I ask myself whats right vs whose right. Although I find this difficult if the other person is not thinking in this same manner so then there is controversy. Rightly in connection to this is the fact that we “assume” something rather than going directly to the source to discuss whatever issue may be at hand. Or taking the opinion of someone else as verbatim while not talking directly to the people involved. I suppose you could elaborate on all these subjects and not come to any solid conclusions.

  2. Mindy says:

    This is just what I needed to hear. Wanting to be right all the time and the art of compromise, in my opinion, are so closely linked. Especially in a situation where it is someone close to you.(Spouse, Kids, Parents) Doing something (going the opera) or not doing) something (going skydiving) to ensure the happiness of another person: being more important than your own, can sometimes be a tough pill to swallow. But how good it feels when we do.

    • Judy says:

      Thank you for your comment, Mindy. Compromise, if done well and with a right attitude, can be satisfying for all the parties and a reason for growth. If only more people knew this. It is far more satisfying, I think, than winning. It so often happens that the price for winning may be broken relationships.

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