Thinking about being right

It's unusual for us to think about being wrong unless we've acquired the emotional baggage which insists that we're always wrong/never right. We usually want to be right at all cost. To be wrong can feel devastating and dangerous. Psychologists label those dreadful feelings: "cognitive dissonance". We feel exposed to others' abuse, putdowns and rejection when we're wrong. It feels like the rug has been pulled out of our confidence, composure and our ability to comprehend others.  Thus, we feel the urge to be right even when our rational minds think better of it.

This insatiable need to the right becomes a prison. We're captivated by our chronic insistence on never being wrong. There's no escape when can detect in our thinking about being right. It's obvious we could admit to being a clueless idiot, total loser, or worthless individual -- but where's the sense in that? We've got blinders on our panoramic vision. We're looking through a peep hole from our prison cell unaware of our huge blind spots and tunnel vision.

When we're thinking conventionally about being right, we're trapped in an ideal of self-righteousness. We see others wallowing in blatant wrongfulness. We're exalting ourselves in a way that will be our ultimate downfall. We cannot imagine how to get off our high horse or to eat a slice of humble pie. We're stuck on ourselves and cannot get unstuck without being unglued and crazy.

There's another way to think about being right which does not make others wrong. We find there's some significant freedom in thinking about being right. We can be right about there being:

  • more to learn, discover and explore
  • more common ground, shared interests and parallel agendas
  • more partial understandings to combine with the other side of the coin
  • more processing, conversing and comparing viewpoints to do together

We then abandon our positional stance and switch to trusting an unfinished process. We give up knowing everything already and become curious again. We stop trying to save face and intentionally face conflicting ideas with receptivity and compassion. We're right about how others' being right can help us become better informed, broad minded and creative. We're thinking about becoming right while being partially wrong for the time being.

No comments:

Post a Comment