Today’s blog explores one of our basic human compulsions that comes directly out of our perceived separation from God and from each other. This is the need to be right and to make other people wrong.
Don’t You Get Tired of Being Wrong?
Somewhere around 1976, my father and I were shopping at Zayer Shopper’s City (the Minneapolis pre-curser to WalMart) and found matching t-shirts that perfectly stated our shared life mantra (at that time). My dad’s red t-shirt and my blue one boldly stated:
Don’t You Ever Get Tired of Being Wrong?
I can’t speak for my dad, but for me, being a Capricorn, first-born, type-A, over-achiever and perfectionist had secured my path of righteousness. I was right and everyone else was wrong….unless of course, they agreed with me. 🙂 Sadly, I was recently shown that these traits did not soften as I grew and “matured,” instead, they have become even more firmly entrenched. As a grown up, this need to be RIGHT manifested in the following:
Contemplation is right, dogma is wrong
Bleeding heart liberal democrat is right, everyone else is wrong
I’m right, the Institutional Catholic Church is wrong
Poverty is right, wealth is wrong
I’m right, the law of attraction is wrong
Choosing the path of your passion is right, a real job is wrong etc. etc. etc.
Sadly, I was not entirely aware of how deeply entrenched was my own need to be right until my amazing editor pointed this out in a character in the novel I’m currently working on. Since that character is ME my editor’s comments were like a bullet RIGHT BETWEEN MY EYES. OUCH!!!! Yes, the character is firmly entrenched in her own need to be right and sadly, so am I. Did I say, OUCH!? I guess I have some work to do!
The Source of This Compulsion
This need to be right flows directly out of our core spiritual wound – the false perception of separation from ourselves, from each other and from God. Arising out of this wound of separation is the “deadly compulsion” of pride and it is pride that drives our need to be right and to make everyone else wrong. When we are right, we get to feel superior, better than others, more intelligent, wiser, maybe even more compassionate and humble. Ha! All of this needing to be right is ultimately about securing our separation and creating even bigger trenches between ourselves and those in the world that we have the potential to love.
The Remedy to Being Right
The remedy to our need to be right is to embrace humility…..to admit that at the end of the day, WE KNOW NOTHING! And….to set aside the lens of judgment through which we often view the world. What is right for me does not have to be right for another and what is right for me does not make the other person wrong. To put it in the context of beliefs for example: Contemplation, freedom from constrictions, non-doctrine are absolutely right for me……AND they would be absolutely WRONG for another. Where the choices that I have made in my spiritual path give me a sense of security and freedom, it would strike terror and insecurity in another. The invitation for me is to embrace what is right for me while honoring as sacred and holy that which is right for another….even….or maybe even especially….when it is decidedly different than my own personal choices. The same goes for politics, medicine, education, parenting, relationship choices, etc. etc. etc. If we wish to be free from the “sin” of pride and to heal the perceived separations between us, we are invited to cease this need to be right. Now…does this mean that murder, war, abuse, bullying, physical violence, stealing are right because someone believes they are right for themselves? I don’t think so….and I believe that is why we have some basic and mostly universally accepted guidelines for human behavior. The Ten Commandments and Jesus’ commandment to: “Love one another as I have loved you,” are two such examples.
Embracing a New Mantra
Now, if I could go back to Zayer Shopper’s City and choose a new t-shirt for myself, I would rather it read something like:
I’m Sorry for All The Times I Had to Be Right