Why the intense need to be right?
Being right is different than making decisions that turn out to be right. We hold being right more personally. Some consider it part of their identity or an indication of their goodness. To be right implies a need for others to recognize you as right. Some say that the need is rooted in self-esteem issues and low self-confidence. Chances are our need to be right is mostly an ego thing. People fight, stress themselves out and make those around them miserable with their ego’s need to be right.
Breaking the “addiction”: a three step program
To start breaking your “addiction” to being right, consider the following: the next time you KNOW you are right in a disagreement, consciously back off the need to BE right and engage in this three step program.
Step 1: Recognize your ego’s need to be right.
Try backing off your ego’s desire to prove you are right at all. Notice how overly invested you are in being right. This time, let it go. Let the other person believe they are right. Watch your reactions to letting them believe they are right.
Step 2: Imagine being in the other person’s shoes and seeing through their eyes.
Pay attention to how attached you feel to your position. What do you look like from the other person’s viewpoint?
Step 3: Listen to the other viewpoint and imagine that it could be true.
Now this may be really hard. Try suspending disbelief just for a moment. Trust me, your world won’t collapse. You might realize that there is much to gain from listening and not speaking. People will start to react differently to you. You will start feeling more connected. You might learn new things that had remained closed off to you before.
I’m not claiming to be right in this three step program. Rather, I suggest you become a bit more aware of your natural preference to be right. While it is nice to be right, it better being happy.