Admit Being Wrong

Admit Being WrongI’ve found one of the most freeing things for me is to admit being wrong, or even that I might be wrong. Maybe one day it will get me into trouble. Maybe it’s the wrong thing to do in our litigious society. Maybe I’m wrong to admit being wrong, even when I am. I don’t care.

I’m tired of people arguing online for no purpose, both sides hurling beliefs back and forth like flaming fireballs from a catapult, expecting the other to break down and give in. Everyone is so busy yelling from soapboxes that no one listens. Places that used to be fun ways to connect with family and friends have become war zones where everyone is right, and the other side is comprised of idiots. There is no empathy, understanding, or compassion.

I see some of these people in person, and none of this comes up. If it does, I don’t leave feeling battered, even if we don’t agree. The keyboard strips people of their civility, creating a virtual fortress from which to shoot opinions, and all too often, hate.

Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.  ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Giving myself the possibility of being wrong has allowed me to see both sides of many issues, and like the presidential election, both sides look ugly. Whether it’s guns, political figures, religion, immigrants, abortion, war, racism, or something seemingly small like the ice bucket challenge, I have seen people I call friends (and some I no longer do) attack in ways that were shocking. I understand the need to draw a line in the sand on certain things, but there are so many lines drawn, all the space is colored in. Few people consider, “What if I’m wrong.”

Even on things I feel certain about, I sometimes question myself. It’s an exercise in understanding. I consider the other side, even though it’s much easier to call the opposition stupid and get up on my high horse where I am the smartest and best. That place is so reassuring and comfortable, where I find opinions that agree with my own and puff myself up with righteousness. I’m guilty of this sometimes. Everyone is. Some more than others.

Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.
Albert Einstein

Being wrong isn’t shameful or bad. Everyone is wrong sometimes. What is shameful is denial, closing myself off from possibilities. What is bad is becoming so rigid no matter how strong the wind blows telling me I’m wrong, I will not bend and would rather risk breaking. Admitting I’m wrong frees me from clinging to a lesser self.

Change is scary. I’m not perfect (like that’s news). Sometimes I don’t see that I have my nails dug into a belief like my life depended on it. But I’m getting better. There are times I must use hindsight to see my wrongs, but at least I’m seeing them, considering them. And my life is more peaceful. (Staying off of Facebook helps too!)

Can you admit being wrong? Try it and see how fighting to be right stresses you out.

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