Not to long ago I had a conversation with my bonus son about being right. In his 11 year old mind, when 2 people have a difference of opinion, or a different point of view, someone is right and someone is wrong. So then I tried to explain that when two people don’t see eye to eye, that no one has to be right or wrong without making him feel he was wrong, but giving him a different point of view. Of course he said he was wrong, and I tried to explain that his experience in life up to that moment didn’t make him wrong or me right, which is hard without making it sound that I was right. This boy keeps me on my toes. He questions a lot, which is good and what I encourage.
Why do we feel the need to be right?
The way I see it, it is all an ego thing. And yes my ego gets in the way as well and I just want to be right sometimes. Being brutally honest here. And yes with certain things there might be someone right or wrong. But when it comes to our lives experience, believe system, etc, I don’t believe there is a right or wrong.
So my bonus son did want to be right in saying that it is not always a difference of opinion. He, of course, came up with this wonderful example: “Mom, if there is an atomic bomb that drops within 3 feet of these two guys and one believes they are going to die and the other one believes they won’t, one is clearly going to be right.” To witch I responded:”maybe one person doesn’t believe in life after death or reincarnation and thinks that bomb will mean the final end, and the other one believes in after life or reincarnation and knows that his soul will continue to exist after the bomb.” To witch he responded: “mom, they don’t believe in that stuff, one is a scientist and the other an atheist.” I just had to shake my head and tell him in that case both guys would know they’re going to die.
But why do we need to be right? Why does it make us feel so good? Does it really make us better then the other person? Like I said, it has a lot if not all to do with our ego. If we could get our ego’s out of the way, would being right about things be still so important?
Is there a better way?
Back to my family, and me trying to explain to my bonus son (who only lives every other week with us) about not always having to be right. In my household, I am the spiritual person and my other half is the scientific person. So there are many things we don’t see the same way. But we both respect each others opinion. My bonus son thought that people don’t agree that it would turn into an argument, and that’s when I tried to explain that people can have difference of opinions without anyone being right or wrong, but still respecting each others point of view.
I didn’t get to this point over night, in my younger days I loved to be right, I was a know it all. But over time I learned, with lots of practice to let the ego get out of the way, and patience to see other peoples points of view and that I could actually learn from that as well. That by listening to other people and how they see things I got a broader perspective and learned things or saw things in a different light that I had never seen before. Can I say that it made me wiser?
How do we practice this
So how can we practice ” the not wanting to be right thing”. We need to learn to set our ego aside. This is what you can practice with mindfulness and meditation. Is it an over night thing? No, it takes practice to be able to see and listen with more then your ego. An other thing is to listen with an open heart and mind, without feeling the need to respond and/or defend your own point of view. When you feel like you want to defend because you think you are right, try to catch yourself, be mindful, and take a few deep breaths and tell yourself that it is the other persons opinion, and try to think about the fact that you might have never looked at it from that persons perspective.
This of course can be practiced when your in a fight or argument as well, because those can come from misunderstandings or differences of opinions, but when it starts to get heated like that already, it is way harder to take that step back and breath and really truly listen to the other persons opinion.
Life would be so much more beautiful if everybody learns to listen with an open heart and an open mind. That we can value and respect each other opinions. After all we are here to lift each other up as well, not just ourselves.