Do you always have to be right? Are you always coming out on top when in an argument or debate? Do you hate being proven wrong, because it makes you feel ill at ease for the rest of the day? A lot of times this kind of single minded persistence can come in handy, but be cautious of taking this mindset too far. It could end up being harmful to your relationships, cause stress and rob you of your sense of peace. For some people, the need to win at an argument is a game and a challenge. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a mental challenge, and having an exchange of ideas with another person, or even trying to reconcile different opinions. These are all learning opportunities. However, when it becomes about dominance, the need to be right can cause problems because it hinges on the other person admitting defeat. Of course the easiest and most beneficial way of doing this is to simply accept the other person’s point of view. Doing so doesn’t make you wrong, it only means that you acknowledge that there is a different point of view as valid as yours. This demonstrates open mindedness on your part as well as confidence and compassion. It’s easier said than done however. So how can you learn to graciously let go of being right? Baby Steps If you’re the kind of person who is ‘always right’, you’re not going to change overnight. Chances are you’ve had this mindset for a long time, and habits are hard to break. Start by taking baby steps. Concede a small point the next time you get into an argument, even it’s only telling the other person that you understand why they might feel the way they do. You could also thank them for their input. Unless the other person is being truly offensive, you could learn something from their argument. Know That You Won’t Change Others When people argue, they seem to do so with the objective of getting the other person to change their mind or their opinion. The fact is that many people, yourself included most likely, are not going to let go of the beliefs they hold. No matter how brilliant your argument or how substantial your facts may be. When this is the case, learn to recognize it and move on. You’ll never change someone’s opinion, so why continue to frustrate yourself by trying? Empathetic Listening Often, we hear but we do not listen. In a one on one conversation, try making a conscious effort to listen more than you speak. The more you actively listen to someone else’s perspective, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to empathise with them. And in most cases, they will empathise right back, making a virtuous circle instead of a vicious circle. If we can understand that most viewpoints, even those that are profoundly wrong, have some sort of basis in fact. Could you find a common ground in some small part of the other person’s argument? If you could and you conceded that, it doesn’t mean that you’re changing your viewpoint completely, or yourself for that matter. Separate your sense of self from your opinion and you’ll be happier for it.
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