Why we like being right even though we’re wrong a lot of the time
From the time we are able to make our very first conscious choice, and then take our first action, we are told we are either wrong or right. At first we are often wrong but that doesn’t feel very good and those telling us we’re wrong obviously disapprove of us. We quickly realize that being right gets us praise and acceptance, and that does make us feel good. We are told, or we begin to develop the idea, that people that are wrong do poorly in school and work, get in trouble, are generally bad and lazy or end up unhappy or are foolish or whatever. Eventually even when we make a wrong decision we convince ourselves we are right; to maintain our security, safety and self-concept. Although we pay lip service to the fact that the human species is flawed, we continually fool ourselves into knowing we are right the vast majority of the time. If we become successful, or think we are at this self-delusion, we can become perfectionists and actually wall ourselves off from much of life. We must be perfect, we must be right so we shield ourselves from failure and do only those things that we think we know how to do rightly. We can even begin to see others, that push the boundaries, as dangerous and often delight in their perceived failures, thus cementing our rightness while sacrificing our chance to truly experience one of the most important blessings of life.
We all see the world through our own filter or lens. Our own unique lens is a creation of the beliefs we have chosen, the assumptions we make from those beliefs and then the inferences we conclude from those assumptions. If we have chosen to adopt the belief that we are always or mostly right, we sacrifice a great and uniquely human gift. Instead of actively striving to focus and clarify our lens, by searching for our wrongness and then adopting more empowering and insightful beliefs, we actively choose to distort and warp our lens for the preservation of our rightness. In this way, either consciously or unconsciously, we bind ourselves to a static or even regressive existence, our experiences are lessened, and we become vulnerable to isolation and poor relationships. In effect our, endowed blessing of choice, becomes hijacked by our ego.
As it relates to relationships, not allowing ourselves the gift of being wrong, can have devastating consequences. In fact we can’t even have a healthy relationship if we can not own up to our wrong doings. Two people can coexist, but if one or both of them can not be wrong, no empathy or real communication can take place. Only by having the courage to be vulnerable and admitting ones wrongs, can understanding, acceptance and love flourish and deepen. Absent our ability to actively search for and make right our wrongs, relationships fail or are at least diminished. When we can embrace are wrongs, and willingly take responsibility for them, our relationships are actually enhanced, trust builds and bonds strengthen. We learn the value of one another, we learn forgiveness, we learn compassion and acceptance. We are ultimately both made better as we more fully accept of ourselves and the other.
Being wrong is one of the most important things we can do to enhance the human experience! If we never pushed ourselves into the abyss of unknowingness, we would still be living in caves. Being wrong, or the willingness to be so, has catapulted our species forward in innumerable ways. From music to art to technology to sports to nearly everything that gives this life it’s color and uniqueness. One need only point to Einstein, or Edison, or Newton, or Washington, or on and on and on, to demonstrate that the willingness to err is quintessential for the advancement of the individual and our species. If we choose to be always right we choose a lessened experience, we lose. We should delight in our mistakes and be joyful in our wrongness. We are endowed with the ability to step back and look at ourselves and our choices. If we can be honest with ourselves and recognize and admit our wrongness and failures, we can move forward. To live rightly is to be wrong!