How do you know when you’re wrong?
Let’s start by setting the mood here.
This might give you an idea of what this is all about, but let’s take things from the start.
People have opinions. We all do. Opinions about how things work, about the world around us, about our beliefs, our choices, our actions, our behavior, our likes and dislikes. We have opinions also about other people and, just like for ourselves, for their behavior, their actions and choices and so forth.
Keep this as a thought.
Now, let’s make this interesting. There is never just one truth. We all see the world (and ourselves in it) through our perspective. We see it through our eyes, with everything filtered through our opinions. And since it is our own opinions we are talking about, we believe it to be all true and correct. If we didn’t, we would change our opinion and look at things differently. In other words, we believe we are right.
Keep this as a second thought.
This is where it starts getting complicated. An Italian novelist called Luigi Pirandello wrote a book about 100 years ago called “One, no one and one hundred thousand.”. The book’s premise focuses on the concept that the image we have of ourselves is unique only to ourselves, and every single other person we have any level of interaction and relationship with, perceives a different version of us. In essence, we have an equal number of “versions” of ourselves as the number of people we meet in our lives, including ourselves. They all see a different “you” for yourself. And you also see a different you for yourself. This means that they all perceive a different version of the truth regarding your personality, choices and behavior, and of course they swear by it, since -to them- it’s obvious and in plain sight. However, it is different than what you believe for yourself to be true and right.
Keep this as a third thought.
At this point, if we combine all three thoughts, we end up with:
– Everyone has an opinion about themselves.
– Everyone believes their opinion to be the correct one.
– Everyone has a different opinion.
Of course there are many situations where there are more than one valid truths, but I want to focus on situations when that is not the case. I want to focus on situations where one is right and one is wrong.
So, in those situations, HOW THE FUCK can the previous three statements all coexist???
Take this predicament to the most important (in my opinion, at least) application in life. Relationships. Who is right? Who is wrong? And how can you know if you are wrong or not? How can you know if the other person is wrong or not? It’s not at all easy to change one’s opinion. When an idea or a belief enters your mind, it is *very* hard to change it. Do you come to a mutual agreement? Do you agree to disagree? Then again, that means one of the two is compromising, i.e. suppressing what they truly want and believe, and that never leads to anything good. Especially when we are talking about our own behaviors, our choices in life, what is good and what is bad, what is acceptable and what is unacceptable, what is appropriate and what is inappropriate, it’s hard to be convinced that we are wrong. So how do you know when you’re wrong?
You certainly have to be, some times. Not only is it impossible to be right all the time (yes, even you, smart ass), but you certainly wouldn’t want to be right all the time. If you are never wrong, or never believe to be wrong, you will never change. You will never evolve. You will never better yourself. You have to be wrong sometimes. Question is, when? And how do you see it?
And there you are, insisting on something that you bet your right arm is the way you say it is. You think you know. You know you are correct. “Surely I cant be wrong about XYZ! I know me, I know what I want, I know what is ok and what isn’t. But how can it be that you see it completely differently? We are looking at the exact same thing!”. BOOM! Nuclear explosion. This unavoidable difference in perspective can harm a relationship between friends, family, lovers, colleagues, anything.
It’s not as if you do it on purpose. You wish you could see what is going wrong! At the end of the day, we only want to improve ourselves and our relationships. We want to be better people. But in order to correct our wrongs, we have to recognize them. And until that happens, we blame the other person. It’s always the other person. They did us wrong, they treated us unjustly, they were selfish, they were stubborn and closed minded. And that is ANNOYING! The relationship suffers simply because we cannot see when and if we are wrong. Especially if you reach the point of saying “Fuck it, I’m out! I’m done trying to show the other person why I am right.”. THEY ARE SAYING THE SAME THING ABOUT YOU, YOU IDIOT!
And yet… It’s nobody’s fault. We simply don’t always have the clarity and capacity to understand if we are wrong at something or not. So… being the selfish, strong, independent creatures that we are (because, you know… survival instinct kicks in), if you can’t find a solution, of course you will end up believing you are right. Otherwise, you will not survive that nuclear explosion. It is easier to believe we are right. It is more comfortable. Ignorance is bliss. Unless, if you are not the kind of person that settles for comfort. You want to know the truth about yourself and your choices, because if you don’t, it will eat you up from the inside.
Then, the question stands. How do you know when you’re wrong? Before it’s too late…
You can close with this: