Even if you don’t want to admit it, there were situations when you wanted to prove you were right, even when deep down inside you knew the opposite was true.
But you ignored that feeling and kept pushing on. Maybe you were lucky and had your way, but if not, you let the argument escalate until you said something that you couldn’t take back. As a result, the good relationship was ruined, never to be repaired again.
This happened to me a lot in the past. I was arrogant and inconsiderate of those close to me. The need to be right and tell them how it really was had been very strong, almost overwhelming at times. It ruined a lot of friendships in my life.
Since starting my meditation practice, I became aware of this pattern and learned to avoid it. Now I can talk to someone without trying to impose my opinion on them. When the need to be right returns, I observe it and let it go. Being aware of it has turned into a spiritual practice.
In this article, I would like to share how I use mindfulness to counteract the need to be right, and I hope it can be helpful to anyone who reads it.
It Doesn’t Mean You Have to Agree with Everyone
It’s completely fine to have views and opinions. What’s important here is to be aware of your state of consciousness when you talk to someone. You need to remember how it feels to lose an argument. When you do that, you can clearly see how your sense of self gets diminished. In other words, you feel how your ego is hurt as a result.
This pain creates a lot of food for negative thoughts that you play over and over in your mind. You refuse to admit you were wrong and feel angrier than before.
It contributes to a sense of division and separateness between you and “others.” By giving in to this pattern, you start to divide people into “right” and “wrong.” While being in this mode, you’re one step away from labeling people into groups and categories.
How to Let Go of the Need to Be Right
When you feel like you’re about to be involved in a pointless argument, you need to ask yourself these three mindful questions based on objectivity, compassion, and awareness.
1. Do I have enough information?
Even if you think you’re an expert* in something, there still might be things you don’t know.
Questioning your knowledge or objectivity is not an easy thing to do. Still, it’s a sobering and humbling habit once adopted.
When you think about it, none of us can ever know everything about anything. In the end, it all comes down to personal opinions and points of view.
2. Do I know this person well enough?
You can’t truly know the driving force behind someone else’s words or actions. You don’t know about their situation or the experiences they had.
Something must have happened to them to take this stand. You might not see it, but it doesn’t mean that it’s not there.
So you need to put yourself in another person’s shoes. For a moment, you should think about why they say this or think that way. There is always a reason.
3. Do I know why I’m acting like this right now?
When you’re in the middle of an argument, you can greatly benefit from turning your attention to the emotion you feel at that moment.
When you do that, you might discover that you’re angry, frustrated, and impatient. You’ll realize how much hostility and negative energy you’re producing at that very moment.
After you’ve noticed the emotion, you should stay with it for a while and not resist it. Soon, it will become clear it’s just a feeling, it’s not who you really are.
You’ll notice a tiny space between your awareness and negative emotion. At that moment, you’ll be able to slow down and realize that this argument doesn’t matter that much.
If you repeat this process in conflict situations, it will become your spiritual practice. You’ll have so much more control over your need to be right. And you’ll notice how other people’s behavior will also start to change around you.
Hi, I’m Gavril, the guy behind this blog. What you see here is the combination of my three favorite things: reading, writing, and mindfulness. While you’re here, subscribe to my blog updates and gain access to free mindfulness resources for stress relief.