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When Being Right Is Wrong

There was a time in my life when I just had to be right. I would go to great lengths to prove to the other party(s) how right I was. Funny thing, no one ever thanked me for setting them straight. For all the knowledge I had :P, people rarely asked me to enlighten them.

It can take a long time to figure out you’re just being a jerk! Now I try hard to keep my trap shut. I’m not perfect and sometimes slip back into know-it-all-ness, but the predictable response back reminds me that it’s not always right to be right.

Gail Blanke suggests four questions to ask yourself next time you’re feeling “right”:

1. Do I want to be right, or do I want to be happy?

Which is more important? Which is healthier? Which brings you closer to those you love and care about? Which moves you toward the person you are meant to be—your true self? Looking at the two options through this lens can make the choice very simple.

2. What’s more important to me: making someone wrong for the moment or having a great long-term relationship?

If you look at what drives the deterioration of many relationships, it’s often a breakdown of kindness. As the normal stresses of life pile up, and other distractions crowd-in, you might put less effort into a relationship and let disagreements and unkindness destroy a great relationship.

3. What would happen if I let go of the urge to correct and concentrate instead on the rewards of connecting?

The ‘need to be right’ keeps us holding on to old hurts rather than moving forward and making the best of things. It prevents self-growth and learning. For your own wellbeing and the wellbeing of your relationships with family, colleagues, and others, letting go of the ‘need to be right’ can free up much space, time and energy for the deeper joys and riches of connections

4. Can I let someone else be right for just a minute before I say what I think?

Now, I’m not suggesting that you always keep your opinions to yourself. People close to you need to know what you’re thinking. But if you spend more time listening than you do speaking, so that the people you’re speaking to feel understood and bonded with you, when you do speak your mind, they’ll be listening much more closely. 

Constantly finding fault with what others are thinking can be exhausting — and destructive. So, stop fuming over how right you are and instead, focus on building a relationship.