When the Need to Be Right Falls Away

We can feel we are 100% right about something. And we can strongly defend our position. Sometimes we find out we were wrong. It's very humbling. Personally I can say it's happened to me many times. The need to be right can be clutter. It can create a division between ourselves and the people in our lives. Connection with another is a more fulfilling experience.

I figure on a good day I end up being right about 17% of the day. The funny thing is I feel like I'm right about 85%. But the day proves me wrong. I've gotten a lot better about being wrong. Often when it happens now, I think, "Of course, I can't believe I thought that was true." I remember reading something online about the Gap closing their retail stores and just selling clothes on the web. I was in the Gap yesterday and said to the sales person with certainty, "I heard the Gap will be closing their stores and selling online." They told me it was absolutely not the case. Another sales person backed them up. The great thing is, I went from the feeling of being an "expert" to being a person. It felt better being a person. I wasn't in the right. I was connected to someone else and that makes me happy and gives me peace of mind.

Sometimes I'll clutter bust with a couple and they'll try and defend their positions against each other. They both want to be right. At that moment they are disconnected from one another and unhappy. I think what happens is there is a struggle for control. Control feels like protection. "If I can control this other person, then they can't hurt me." But control ends up hurting both people because they lose their openness. They can't feel the more delicate feeling of joy in their hearts.

I worked with a couple in their home office. The husband left the room for a minute to take a call. I was going through the closet with the wife. We came upon a stashed box of the husband's Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues. She was surprised at first. Then she looked very sad. Then her eyes filled with rage and she began to shake. I could tell that she was fuming inside. She yelled to the other room, "I found your bikini magazines! I want them out of here now!!" He got off the phone and came into the room saying, "I'm not getting rid of those. You can't tell me what to do!!" She started crying and said, "Why are you doing this to me?" He said, "What?! Why are you saying that? I'm not doing anything!"

I stepped in and said to the husband that his wife was feeling hurt. She wasn't angry with him. The presence of the magazines made her feel hurt. Sometimes when we feel hurt it comes out as anger. It's a way of protecting ourselves when we are feeling vulnerable. I said to the wife that he was reacting to her angry reaction. Someone else's anger can catch us by surprise and make us feel afraid. It's hard to admit to being afraid. That's being vulnerable too.

She opened up and said that when she saw the magazines she felt old and sad that she was no longer young, and that her husband didn't care for her. He apologized for making her feel that way. He got softer as he said her reaction wasn't the case, he thought she was beautiful and he felt sad that she thought he didn't love her anymore. Their deep re-connection was incredibly touching.