Freedom from needing to be Right

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?

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8 thoughts on “Freedom from needing to be Right

  1. Good one, James.

    I think it’s all about power. I’ve learnt this the hard way but never forgot it. Back in 92, in secondary college i used to be a bit of a smart-ass, specially with closer friends of mine, and with the ones i found to be the weaker ones. Until one of my best friends, called me aside and said: “you’re pretty good at making fun of people. Not so much when it’s the other way around…” and walked away. Obviously stating my reactions when people made fun of me. It was worst than a punch in the stomach. I realised then that there’s always two sides of everything. In a different way I learnt that by having the control/ power over a relationship or even in a conversation with strangers, the magic of the human interaction is lost, and becomes a one-way road. Pointless. What’s the fun in life if not learning or discovering someone else’s own world? Who’s who the say what’s right or wrong, the beauty of the whole thing is to share our views and appreciate the differences.
    Cheers,
    Fernando

  2. This entry struck a chord with the recovering perfectionist in me. Your blog is a joy … the words ring true and the pictures are uplifting. Thank you for all your work.

  3. I found it so freeing when I finally realized that I did not need to convince anyone of anything. It became very clear to me when I came to Brazil from the US how many things in my culture that I thought were absolutes, were simply our view. In another culture, that same thing may be just the opposite. It really helped me see that there are many points of view and that I do not need to convince everyone that mine is “correct.” Good reminder that we can agree to disagree. Hugs, pat

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