What’s Wrong With Being Right?

“Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it.”  Tolstoy

imageIt’s a long standing joke between my best friend and I that he likes to be right, to the point where on the very rare occasions where I have been able to prove him wrong I’ll make a big deal and laugh at him. This is all done in jest – I’ve known him since I was 19 years old and we have a good enough relationship to be able to say what we feel without fear of offending each other. We generally seem to share the same beliefs and moral code, so it’s rare that we totally disagree on a subject. However, does it mean that because we share these ideals we are ‘right’ in what we believe?

What I have discovered is that the issue of being ‘right’ in our opinions, however, can sometimes be a dangerous thing. Each person, and subsequently their minds, are unique, and this means that each individual has a different perception of the reality of a situation. Our minds are an interpretation of ourselves, our experiences and our surroundings.

I’ve always believed that I am quite open minded when listening to other’s opinions on lots of different subjects (often resulting in some interesting conversations) without judgement, but I stubbornly took a rather dogmatic approach to my own. To justify myself, I used the premise that I involuntarily felt the way I did about something or someone, and should be allowed the right to do so. Ultimately, regardless of others attempts to offer alternative perspectives on the situation, I thought I was right, and that was all that mattered.

Unfortunately, I frequently found that the beliefs that I continued to remain attached to were the negative ones that allowed me to approach certain situations in a state of anger and frustration. When I have been truly hurt, something inside me switches off emotionally and I’ve been a victim of my own mind (and consequently have played the victim) for a long time. I haven’t done it consciously, but upon reflection I think I may have almost been looking for justification and understanding from those around me about my feelings, and have been left with almost a sense of abandonment on occasion when I haven’t received it.

In general, I like my life. I have a good relationship with The Bloke and my mother, lots of good friends, a well paid job, nice colleagues, a cosy home and two cats. While money is a little tighter than it used to be, I don’t want for anything. I have been lucky to have experienced lots of wonderful things and visited places I used to only dream of as a child. I have nothing to complain about, yet, somehow, despite the many ways in which I attempted to adopt a different approach, my mindset was steadfast in the way I regarded certain situations to be. I was right, they were wrong.

image

A little while ago, I decided that being right is not important. I don’t want to live like that anymore. I don’t want to say what I think other people want to hear to pacify them and avoid lectures. I don’t wish to put on a smile and go through the motions just to put a brave face on it. While I cannot change what has happened, I want to be able to let go and move on. I don’t want to be right, I want to be happy.

As with any change, it’s going to take a little bit of time, but I’m hoping that one small step at a time will lead me on the journey I wish to travel…

What about you? How have you moved on from things that have hurt you in the past?

You can find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog.

 

49 thoughts on “What’s Wrong With Being Right?

  1. Amen Sister! I decided a while ago that I would rather be HAPPY than RIGHT and when I find myself twisted in knots over something, it is generally because I temporarily forgot that decision! ❤

  2. Love this post! Open, sincere, thought provoking. “I don’t want to be right, I want to be happy.” Very attractive idea but it might be very dangeroous too. It’s impossible to be happy all time. Major decisions must be made and actions performed. You might try to ignore bad people but they might want to kill your happiness.

    • I want to like JFs reply but the mobile site won’t let me. Being happy isn’t the be all and end all. And being happy and wrong can do huge harm. I’ll bet most women having affairs with married men are happy doing that. And yet it’s totally wrong and does great harm. Hopefully some of that harm rebounds on them and they learn not to hurt others but humans are poor at learning lessons like that.

    • Thanks so much – I’m really pleased that you enjoyed it! I agree – seeking happiness is possible but being happy is not possible all the time. You’ve given me something to think about!

  3. It depends what it’s about. Most things are a matter of opinion so “right” is in the eye of the beholder. But there are things that are quite simply wrong and nothing will make them right. And for those, I would have no peace of mind or happiness if I didn’t fight them.

    In that category? Rape, murder, extramarital cheating, not using seatbelts for children and not vaccinating. Maybe we can now add “negligently bringing deadly diseases into new communities or countries” but I suspect that falls under murder a lot of the time.

    For most other things I am open to debate even though I have strong views.

    • Thanks so much for your comment! My issues tend to be focused in the past – situations that I feel are unjust have still not been resolved in my mind but I find that those around me have been able to move on. I’m tired of fighting as it isn’t doing me any good, and so for my own piece of mind I have resolved to move on, or at least attempt to. However, there are certain things that aren’t forgivable, and in those situations I am not willing to compromise…

      • I couldn’t agree more. I’m not a compromiser by nature either. But even I have had to reassess in respect of infidelity. It’s one of those things where you never know how much you will compromise until you live it. But in general, I completely agree. Past injustice I tend to write off rather than forgive. I haven’t spoken to my father since 2003, and before that 1995, because I have written him off. It’s sad, but it’s for the best. Too much injustice to condone. I think the parent-issues are some of the most interesting because we are encouraged to see those bonds as immutable.

      • I can relate, I haven’t spoken to mine since 2002 and have never regretted the decision… Family issues are usually the ones where I feel most of my personal demons fester, which is why I am trying to move on.

  4. That’s a well-written post and interesting question. I agree that giving up my need to be right is a more peaceful way to live. There are absolute rights and wrongs, but it’s been a long process for me of learning to listen and then speak carefully. Actually I’m still learning. Thanks for writing.

  5. Excellent post. I am trying to give up the need to be right also. Several years ago, a ‘friend’ disrespected my wishes (something that only affected me; it didn’t affect her; she was trying to control my life). I kept trying to get support for me being right about it and her being wrong. Kept ruminating all thru the days about it and my justification for terminating the friendship. When one day, I realized she wasn’t wrong; she was ‘wrong for me’. This final incident occurred after many other little things; times when I accommodated her when she never returned the favor. You don’t have to be right and the other person wrong, but you do have to know when something is wrong for you. Beautiful post.

  6. I’m somewhere in the middle I think. I have an innate (genetic) need to feel “right” but I’ve been letting it go. It really isn’t important and when I sit down and think about it I’m able to let things go.

  7. “How have you moved on from things that have hurt you in the past?”–

    I’ve always said I am a grudge holder, but I am realizing now I just have a really good memory because I don’t actively hold things unless someone provokes me again. I think part of it is I know that regardless of time or reasons, my thoughts are never going to match theirs, minds rarely get changed depending on the subject. I am secure in what I know to be true/right/keeping with my morals, etc. That’s all I need.

    Family is the hardest one…but after the last few months, I am finding that I am further away from them than I thought. So, still moving right along and preventing being hurt again.

    ((hugs)) to you….let me know if you need anything.

    • I’m sorry you’ve found yourself distant from your family. They’re always so complicated… I’m trying to be able to move on to resolve some of the complications – I just hope that they will let me!

  8. Feeling the right to be right brings emotional pain… sooner or later. Detaching from that right brings emotional freedom… immediately.

    Think about it, Suzie.
    Sincerely wishing you well.

  9. It may depend on the circumstances. Over the years I’ve come to find that I care less and less about what others think of me if speaking out in the face of obvious wrongs causes them to be annoyed at me. I have to say what feels right, what I believe to be right, if there are people being hurt in some way. (Doesn’t half raise some eyebrows in school management!)
    But, I’m less concerned about being right when it is obvious to me that my opinion is only my opinion and cannot possibly reflect the multitude of opinions on any given subject.
    There’s a kind of peace in not worrying about pacifying everyone but following feelings and reason to uphold what is important to yourself and letting other things go where it matters less.
    We get so hung up on others’ perceptions and opinions when the only person we can act on is ourselves and what we hold dear. Maybe we don’t need such strong opinions on every single thing. Being open to ideas while holding fast to those things that do matter to us.
    I think you’re right, Suzie, to let go of what causes you angst and embrace what gives you peace.x

    • I think that my main issue focuses on the difference between fact and opinion. I’m quite stubborn in that I believe my opinion of a situation is right, and have felt hurt when those around me have not backed me up, leaving me to feel a little isolated. While I know that I can justify my opinion on things, I am trying to stop expecting others to agree with me as I am only hurting myself in the end.

      Hope you are well my lovely!

  10. I never thought of having to battle with myself which I would prefer between “right” and “happy”. It was never an issue. But thank you! It is now that I get to see why there are things that I still cannot move on from. I was holding on to the idea that I was right and others are wrong! Now I feel that I have to consciously choose being happy. Happiness is a choice, anyways. Great blog! Thank you for these thoughts! 🙂

  11. I have learned to let go and walk away from situations where before I would feel the need to jump in the fray with a good argument. Being right may give one a fleeting feeling of victory, but it can often come with a high emotional cost. Good for you for recognizing the need to break the pattern. Karen 🙂

  12. You’ve generated a lot of interest and discussion on this one. Right versus happy. It’s an odd juxtaposition in my view. Usually, when we are ‘stuck’ on being right, we are in a defensive stance – which could make any of us unhappy. I think it’s how we hold the belief of being ‘right’. Right means there’s a wrong. So we aren’t peacefully saying “This is my right, that is your right.” We are instead saying – “If your right isn’t mine, then you’re wrong.” I suggest we add a spoonful of tolerance to our rightness, so happiness needn’t be excluded from the mix. Great post, gives one the opportunity to think, and hopefully behave, differently.

  13. While reading your words I felt a bit of clarity about some things I myself have been struggling to understand. I guess some would say that I am an ’emotional ‘ type of person and I’ve been sticking to my guns over a certain subject because its how I felt. To realize that what I was feeling might not be facts was hard to face afterall …. it is how I was feeling. How could I be wrong?

    • Thanks so much for your comment! It’s difficult to distinguish between how we feel about something and the way a situation is from the perspectives of those around us. When emotions are involved, we can think logically about a situation but still cannot help the way we feel about it… I find that difficult to move on from.

  14. On a similar train of thought, I think it’s better to be true to yourself than to be right. Often, in order to be right, I would have to convince others that they are wrong. But by simply staying true to myself, I can accept that we have a difference in opinion – no absolute right or wrong – and just be comfortable with my perspective.

  15. Hello,
    Referred on to your blog from the community pool blog.
    It seems to me you are just discussing, possibly without releasing, cognitive behaviour therapy. Put simply it is not the situation that creates our feelings but our thoughts, opinions, and appraisals of the situation- these thoughts in turn create our emotions and our behaviour or responses to the situation. It’s obviously a massive topic and worth reading in to, you can follow this link for a relatively short guide http://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/docs/SelfHelpCourse.pdf
    The general gist is either notice your thoughts, appraise them and challenge them if unhelpful or notice your unhelpful repossess to situations and try responding differently in the future to see if that changes there way you think and feel.
    The blog itself is interesting, and genuine though for me could be more concise (though this is a touch hypocritical seeing as I have written a sprawling comment).
    If you have time please do look at my blog to see if you can give any feedback. sayitin500.wordpress.com
    It’s mainly political satire.
    Thanks
    Graham

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