As the famous quote of Auliq Ice goes: “Be sure to taste your words before you spit them out.”
I had been given countless opportunities to choose between being kind and being right. I had chances to point out someone’s mistakes, how they could’ve done differently and ways they could improve. I had chances to correct people, in private as well as in front of others. What all these delusional opportunities amount to are chances to make someone else feel bad, and eventually myself in the process.
I was raised with the value of being right. Almost everyone in my direct environment had the need to be right in everything they did and said. With pride on the line, they argued and fought as long as it took to prove the other wrong. I had a taste of that bitterness since I had taken over this behavior for quite some time in my life. But what is it that made me gave in to this?
Well, without getting too investigative about it, the reason I was drawn towards kicking others down, correcting them, or showing them how I was right and they were wrong, was because I mistakenly believed that if I pointed out how someone else was wrong, I must have been right, and therefore I would feel better.
“The thrill of being right is a drug that few can resist.” — Bill Purdin
However, when I paid attention to the way I felt after kicking someone down, I noticed that I was feeling worse. My mind and heart, the compassionate part of me, knew that it’s unbearable to feel better at the expense of someone else. There were more important values I wanted to hold close to me than being right.
1. Be Humble, Stay Humble
My need to be right was rooted deeply in my ego, and I noticed there is one thing that ego is not — that’s being humble. There have been moments in my life where I felt desperate to be right when caught in an argument. I was seeking revenge to redeem myself, which was eating me up. Slowly, I became aware of my ego, because every time it felt as if I lost a piece of myself in an ocean of greed.
Now, whenever someone says something I believe to be wrong, I tend to close my eyes, take a deep breath and swallow my pride. I don’t need to prove them wrong, even more, I need to be willing to be wrong myself.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not about compromising my truths. Rather, it’s about being humble within the expression of being either right or wrong — to be able to handle myself in both cases. Instead of being concerned about who is right, I’m being concerned with what is right.
“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” — Rick Warren
2. Desire To Forgive
The need to be right has crossed all paths in my life, and especially with those who are close to me. When I believe I’ve been wronged, I often wanted to prove how wrong they are as well. Many times, it got out of hand wishing I could undo what I had done. Having to experience these many times, I knew I was fighting a lost cause in which I kept hurting myself and the ones I hold dear.
Therefore, I decided to focus on forgiveness. It became more and more important for me to share my thoughts and express how I felt, with a commitment to forgive the action and the person, no matter how wrong I believed them to be. My desire to forgive became stronger than the need to be right, which opens the door for a more mindful, closer and healthy connection.
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” — Lewis B. Smedes
3. Let Go Of Attachment
I was so attached to what I was saying, I ended up forcing my ideas on others, even if it means to alter mine believes to gain approvals. It was a matter of time until people started to move away from me. There was no need for all this attachment. I learned that it’s possible to be passionate about what I was trying to express without being attached to how it’s received.
Letting go of attachment gave me the freedom to communicate without the pressure of needing to be seen as right. I was able to find harmony with however my comments were received and with whatever direction a conversation took — who’s right or who’s wrong became irrelevant.
“You can only lose what you cling to.” — Buddha
Finally, Choose To Be Kind
By integrating the values of humility, forgiveness, and detachment, I could finally choose to be kind. As a result, I noticed a change in me where I built people up, made them feel better, shared in their joy, and earned the rewards for their positive feelings.
The next time you have the chance to correct someone, even if their facts are a little off, choose to resist the temptation. Don’t let the ego take control that only cares about the differences between right and wrong. In contrast to the heart, which simply loves and accepts whoever is on the other side of the conversation. Let’s operate from the heart, with kindness, a gift everyone can afford to give.