No matter how we play this game called life, most of us get a kick out of hearing, “You’re Right! BINGO!!” and “You WIN!!!” Yet, it’s inevitable that we’ll also hear the opposite—that we’re off base, we’ve missed the mark, and we are wrong. In today’s article, we’re going to look at how to find the joy in being wrong.
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We’ve all been wrong, so we know how it feels.
We might feel fear that we’ll be made fun of. We might feel regret that we made the wrong choice. We might feel anxiety that we’re less than perfect. We might feel guilty that we should have known better, or guilty that we spoke up at all. And, our inner critic may run wild.
The emotions we feel about being right or wrong may be very strong.
For some people, the need to be right feels like survival. And even the possibility of being wrong feels like a threat to their existence. Without wading too deeply into psychobabble, whenever we don’t agree with this type of person, they feel attacked. In the minds of those people, who are sometimes called narcissists, being right means they are in control and powerful, and being wrong means they are weak, stupid, and vulnerable. Though it may appear ideal that those people would hear and learn from this message, they would think that it challenges their rightness—which would only make them feel attacked—so they would criticize and tune it out. If any of us are dealing with one or more of these individuals, may we bless ourself with the peace that comes by redirecting our energy elsewhere.
Societal standards are askew.
Our societal standards of being right and wrong are superficial and have been given too much power. The evidence of this is everywhere. As children, we may have been rewarded with attention, toys, fun, and things when we did what adults saw as “right.” When we did things that adults saw as “wrong” we may have been punished. And since the adults were brought up similarly, their behavior may have seemed “normal,” so they may not have taken the time to question why they make those parenting choices. And on the surface, the choice to reward right and punishing wrong, may seem “OK.”
A better way to right a wrong.
Rather than punishing ourself and others for being wrong, and rewarding “rightness,” I’d like to suggest a better way. A way that transcends right and wrong and fulfills the longing in our own hearts. Because there is a deeper purpose to being right or wrong, which has nothing to do with that surface comparison. The deeper purpose isn’t about right and wrong at all. Because the purpose of being right is not to make us feel smart. And the purpose of being wrong is not to make us feel stupid.
The deeper purpose of right and wrong.
The deeper purpose of being right, is to teach us to be better teachers, and the deeper purpose of being wrong, is to teach us to learn. Both are a discovery process. When we focus on teaching or learning, rather than comparing levels of smartness, then being right and wrong are no longer a factor and we pull the blasted rug out from under our egos and become humble and teachable. When we know that we’re either being given an opportunity to teach or learn, we will no longer feel badly when we are wrong—or haughty when we are right.
If we choose to focus on what we’re learning, such as, mathematics, knitting, patience, or getting to know someone, then whether or not we are right or wrong about it becomes a non-issue. This can give us a deep sense of relief, knowing that any burdens we carry about being wrong may be lightened or let go by accepting that we can choose to learn, rather than choose to be wrong.
To learn or not to learn.
If we wish to give meaningful rewards, we might base them on the acknowledgement and integration of the lesson we are presented. Are we willing to be open, see, and integrate the lesson into our daily choices? Let’s reward that long-term learning, with acknowledgment, appreciation, gratitude and love.
Landmines to learning.
There are five choices that may act as landmines, blowing up our chance to experience the joy in being wrong. Can we recognize if we make any of these five choices?
- Do we make the focus of being wrong “all about us”?
- Do we justify our mistake by saying we were “kidding” or that we were wrong on purpose?
- Do we lie by saying it was someone else’s fault that we were wrong?
- Do we apply toxic positivity and pretend that we’re “all good” with being wrong?
- Are we sinister, gaining pleasure from wrongdoing, harm, and misfortune?
Three steps to joy-filled learning.
There are three, direct steps that can help us experience the joy of being “wrong,” right away.
- Be willing to accept that we are wrong.
- Be willing to learn.
- Be willing to change.
This is ultimately what the people we’ve disrespected want. They DON’T want us to be sorry, they want change.
Many times, I’ve had the opportunity to “grow” through being “wrong.” For example, for the first half of my life, I made my decisions based on “weighing pros and cons.” At the time, I didn’t realize that each of the choices I made through “thinking” and “feeling” the “pros” and “cons” resulted in circumstances that left me feeling trapped and stifled.
It took a while for me to learn what was “wrong” with my behavior.
When I accepted that little ol’ me was “wrong” to think that wise decisions were made without intuition, I learned. When I accepted that this was “wrong,” that I am not limited by my experience, memory, thoughts, or feelings, also known as “pros and cons,” I opened up to the wisdom of Life. I accepted that I was (and am) connected to a universal intelligence, which I call Life or God, which has every answer I could ever need to make the very best “right” choices for each of my life’s circumstances. And when I accepted that truth, and got “right” with Life and God, life appeared more right to me. This joy I now experience through my connection with Life and God, was born from being “wrong.” I am thankful that Life is such a patient teacher for me, and that I humbled myself to admit and learn a better, wiser way to live.
What say ye?
As the masked man in the Princess Bride asked, “What hideous sin have you committed lately?” However inconceivably “wrong” you may feel, instead of lashing out, feeling sorry for yourself, or blaming yourself or others for how you feel, can you accept it, find the joy-filled lesson and learn? Please share your thoughts in the comments section, so we may learn together…
Always with love,
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