I have been told my whole life that I can’t admit to being wrong. Yet, I admit I’m wrong all the time. In fact, the same people who tell me that I can’t admit to being wrong are always making the joke of, “let me mark the calendar” or “let me get this is writing” or “let me record this”… yet, they ALWAY make this joke because I admit I’m wrong all the time.
They have confused not admitting that I’m wrong with not caving when I know that I’m right. A classic example of this is when I went to get ice cream with one of these friends. I was ordering my usual, baby peppermint stick with jimmies (chocolate sprinkles for those not in Boston). The order came to $3.10. My friend then ordered a baby peppermint stick. She had $3.00 on her and asked if I had $.10 to borrow. I told her that I had it, but that she shouldn’t need it as she didn’t get any jimmies. She responded that didn’t matter. That jimmies were free. I said that I was always charged jimmies before, but that this particular ice cream stand was a place that she frequented more than I did so maybe they didn’t charge. I got out a quarter to cover her. The ice cream kid then came back and charged her $2.80. For those who aren’t good at math, that’s less. $.30 less to be precise… which I have to say is a lot of jimmies, but alas. She then turned to me angrily saying, “You always have to be right!”.
This, I find, is the difference between someone who always has to be right and someone who is just stubborn. I will own stubborn all day long. I have my thoughts, opinions, and knowledge and I stand by them, but I don’t always have to be right. I am more than willing to change my mind when new evidence is presented.
I have spent a lot of my life in school and/or taking classes. I read constantly. I watch videos on the internet, now that it’s a thing. I love to learn new things. I am constantly getting information that I hadn’t previously had. When I enter into a conversation, I know what I know and am willing to listen to the other person to see if they have anything to offer that may change my opinion. As with the ice cream shop, I was willing to contend that I was not as familiar with that particular store and therefore may not have knowledge about their practices that my friend had.
I think I get this from my upbringing. My brother is very different than me, and therefore thinks and interacts with things very different than me. We often have conversations about subjects that I know a little about and then he informs me of things that I was never made aware of, and it shifts my perspective, and vice versa. He had no idea that babies lost all their baby teeth, even after having my son. He didn’t believe me and had to Google it… I was right… I like being right… but I don’t HAVE to be, and therein lies the difference.
Lately people have been very divided on many issues. So divided that they are not even willing to listen to the other side. Anyone who disagrees with them is just labeled either stupid or evil. The problem is that everything in life has many parts, and many layers, and no one is always right, and no one is always wrong. The best way to get to the truth is to talk with people whom you disagree and actually listen to the other side. No one wants to do this anymore.
People are now intrinsically tied to their beliefs. It has become their identity. If you dare to disagree with someone it’s as if you are degrading the person’s actual self. It is no longer about facts and information it’s about how you feel about a situation that matters. By stating facts that disagree with someone’s feelings the person feels as if the fact spouter is destroying the person that they are, instead of just an idea that can be modified.
People are downright terrified to be wrong. To have their beliefs and therefore their reality and life questioned is the same as killing them. So, it’s been termed that words are violence. If you say words that go against anything that I believe you are now trying to destroy my reality and in turn kill me. No one can be wrong. No one can be mistaken. No one can be misinformed. Everyone has to follow the same way of thought, or they are the enemy.
The thing is facts are facts. My friend who believed that there was no cost for jimmies wasn’t right just because she thought it. Had it been reversed, and she was the one to order the jimmies and therefore charged extra she still would have had to pay it no matter her belief on the matter.
It’s ok to be wrong. Everyone is wrong all the time. It is not about you. The next time you find yourself pushing back. Insulting someone or hating someone because they have information that doesn’t match your beliefs trying talking with them. Maybe you have information that they don’t, and you may change their minds… or maybe you’re just wrong. Either way you will walk away stronger, and more informed and that’s what life is about.