I’m right, you’re wrong, that’s the truth…. or so I thought….
Recently I came to the realization that I have a serious problem. Somewhere in the course of this life, I came to the conclusion that “I am always right.” If I was the sole survivor on earth after the zombie-apocalypse this would not be a problem, but this is not the case. Unfortunately, I’m faced with the fact that I live on a planet, surrounded with people, who just like me, have come to the conclusion that they are always right too.
Being that we as humans are physiologically programmed to be relational beings, this innate need to be “right” is problematic in our day to day interactions with others. I am unable tell you how many times I have personally driven a wedge between others and myself when the “need to be right” mysteriously appeared in the midst of a conversation and crushed the person that I was speaking with. I must also mention that I know that I am not the sole sufferer of this malady. I have been a witness to the damage that this demon has brought to families, marriages, friendships and careers. Yet, very few of us are willing to let go of the reins of this beast. I wish I could tell you that I knew how to tame it, but I can’t. What I can tell you is that I’m tired of dealing with it and I’m searching for a solution.
For a minute I wanted to blame this problem on the manner in which we were educated. From kindergarten to twelfth grade we are programmed to know the right answers because we are told that we will be tested. We are then explained that the result of not knowing the right answer could be detrimental to our progress. Then the need to be right is once again enforced at the university level as graduate and doctoral students are called upon to defend their thesis. Also, as a former pastor, I recognize, in retrospect, that I was taught and I myself taught others to know what they believe and to defend what they believe. While I recognize the importance of faith, I also recognize that at times my arrogance gets in the way of the message of hope that I try to convey.
So what now???
Along with my discovery of this problem, I have also discovered a way to deal with it. It’s called, “Owning up to your problems.” I wish I could say that it was fun and enjoyable. Unfortunately, it’s quite the opposite. In fact it can be painful and humbling. But at the end of it, there is a clearing… there is a possibility to build something new on what is no longer there. This is the point of life where I find myself right now. It’s an exciting one and I’m looking forward to what this moment and the moment to come brings. At this moment, I have an amazing marriage, I have an amazing family, I have amazing friends, I have an exciting career….. and this is just the beginning….. but for now…… I will savor the moment.
*This was posted on a prior blog of mine, “unleashed lion”, in November 2013.
John Eli has spent over 15 years mentoring and coaching individuals in life skills, career transitions, and through organizational change. He has worked in behavioral health, pastoral care, and higher-education. He has found that he is most satisfied in life when he is helping people recognize their potential and assisting them to reach their goals.
He currently lives in Chandler, Arizona with his wife, mini-schnauzer and an antique piano whom he calls, “Betty.”