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  • Relationships

    Being “Right” is Not What We Really Want

    January 27, 2015


    imageIf you’re a Downton Abbey fan, you might be ready to slap Miss Bunting silly by now. I mean, come on! If she’s not a fight-picker, I don’t know who is.

    But here’s the thing: I agree with a lot of her views. I like her way of thinking. Sarah Bunting stands for what most of us want–liberty, equality, opportunity, choice. Bravo Bunting!

    This school teacher also likes what we all like, and that is to be “right.” But many of us have figured out that “being right” can do more harm than good for a relationship.

    Or can it?

    I’m rethinking this “being right” thing, and this is what I’ve concluded:

    It is perfectly okay to be right. It is fine to know within yourself that your view makes more sense. Your method works better. Your arguments are more reasonable and smart than the non-thinker next to you.

    There is nothing wrong with being right.

    The problem arises when you need others to know you’re right.

    Why is that? Why this feverish need to prove a point?

    Why can’t I be okay with being perceived as an idiot, as long as I know I’m in fact not an idiot?

    I believe a true test of spiritual maturity is quietly allowing oneself to be misunderstood. The strong person is willing, for the sake of relationship, to be judged and misjudged time and time again. She does not need others to know she is right.

    Here’s a challenge: Unless you’re a hermit, you may have opportunity today to be “right” about something. Enjoy it! Revel in the knowledge that God gave you the wisdom and intelligence to understand something that someone else may not yet see, and may never see. (Even Jesus commended his followers for being right about what the church was getting oh-so-wrong.*)

    And then shut. your. mouth. Walk away and be the idiot. Take a deep breath and then go buy the person flowers or offer to wash their car. Maybe even hug and kiss them. Because there is no destroyer of smugness like a loving action.

    And know within yourself it is always much better to be wise than right.

     

    *See Luke 10:21

    image credit: www.dailymail.co.uk

     

     

    4 thoughts on “Being “Right” is Not What We Really Want

    1. Katrina says:

      While I am not a devoted DA fan, and don’t know Miss Bunting, I totally agree with this post!
      I have said many times that I would rather be perceived as “kind” than “right”.
      Our culture seems to encourage people to bludgeon others into agreeing with our views, all for the sake of being “right!”

      1. Faith says:

        Thanks for the comment, Katrina! That was very “kind” of you. And I agree with your comment. Hey, that makes you kind AND right! 😉

    2. Laura says:

      Great entry, Faith!

      I was brought up in a family where winning arguments was a daily exercise (These were not the least edifying or uplifting), so I struggle with the habit. But excessive arguing is a symptom of pride. It is sin to want to dominate a conversation at the expense of others’ feelings and opinions. It is self-centered and often degenerates to plain meanness.

      To paraphrase 1 Corinthians 13:1, If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels(and win every single argument), but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

      1. Faith says:

        Good thoughts, Laura. I’ve been introspective about this for a while, as I also grew up in a striving family and seem to have a knack for winning arguments (something I am not proud of). I used to pride myself in saying, “I should have been a lawyer,” until, on two separate occasions, two different individuals said something to me that was chillingly similar: “Faith, you have a way of backing people into a corner with your arguments and leaving them with nothing more to say.” It wasn’t meant as a compliment, as I am not a lawyer. It jolted me and caused me to ask myself, “Is this what I really want to be known for?” Since then, I have experienced the peace that comes in letting others be “right”. I want to keep honing this new “skill”!

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