So much conflict I see around me at all levels in society stems from one basic assumption – that one side is RIGHT and the other side is WRONG. This is a game I’ve played a lot myself, and frankly, even if one wins, it’s usually exhausting. Furthermore, buying into the winning game also requires making others we’re arguing with into losers. This isn’t a great way of communicating, especially if the people we’re wanting to make the loser also happen to be our partners, friends, children, colleagues etc..
I didn’t think about this at all until fairly recently, but when I did, it was like someone had opened some big windows and let in a wonderful refreshing breeze.
The change came when I acknowledged that everything I think, say or write is and can only ever be my point of view. Nothing more, nothing less. Now, sure, that might be an informed point of view in some cases, but that doesn’t change things one bit. It is still just my point of view, based on my knowledge, experience, and my particular perspective.
This recognition has had an amazing effect on the way I communicate with others and even myself, in part because it allows for change, flux, in understanding and perspective. In practice it means that I find right/wrong arguments really boring and I no longer feel the interest or desire to prove myself. I can give examples or cite the evidence upon which my views are based sometimes but if the other person doesn’t happen to agree with me that’s cool.
Even more importantly, it means that I am able to respect other people’s point of view as well, even if they are radically different to mine, and this means that I find myself contributing more to a respectful dialogue rather than argument. And you know what the most ironic thing is? I find that adopting this position actually results in others coming around to my see my point of view much more quickly, simply because I’m not putting them in a position where they have to defend their position by arguing that they are wrong. I’m not saying I’m RIGHT, I’m just saying what I think. Take it or leave it, the choice is yours.
Basically, though I just wanted to share how nice it feels not to need to be right. It’s liberating and I can recommend giving it a go just to see how it feels. If there is resistance behind this, try looking behind the need to be right. What is this really about? What are you really trying to prove?