The Need to Be Right

How many times have we gotten into a heated argument with our children, spouse, loved one, co-worker or checker at the store about who is right? Relationships are torn apart by people feeling they need to be right and prove the other person wrong. Family members may go years without talking because of an argument where no one remembers the cause. Children feel alienated or bitter toward a parent because they are constantly told they are wrong. Employees might dread going to work each day because their way differs from that of their supervisor or co-worker.

Fact versus Opinion

It is hard to argue with fact; facts are facts, and there is proof to back them up. We don’t argue that gravity exists because it is a proven quantity. Opinions, on the other hand, are arbitrary and based on one’s beliefs, values, and personal experiences.

Mom once said, “Whoever folds the towels, folds them right.” There is no hard and fast rule that says you have to fold the towels a certain way. There may be an individual preference for folding a towel; however, there is not one right way.

How the Need to Be Right Affects Others

If you are the sort of person who always needs to be right, others may see you as a “know it all” and a bully. You probably alienate others as people feel judged, insignificant and defensive when told what they are doing or saying is wrong. Marriages end because people bicker back and forth about who is right or wrong when in many cases both people are usually right. When you set out to prove yourself right then someone needs to be wrong, and it can leave a bad taste in their mouth.

How the Need to Be Right Affects You

Once you close your mind off that you are always right then, you are assuming that you know everything and stop growing. You will eventually feel frustrated, disappointed and unhappy in your relationships. You will be viewed as narrow-minded, combative, arrogant and self-righteous. Eventually, you might become obsessed with always having to be right. The quality of life you wish to experience will be non-existent, and you will lack the love, joy, and peace you desire.

Tips for Breaking the Need to Be Right

The first step to breaking any bad habit is to admit you have a problem. Often, our mouths react faster than our brains, and we spew out our opinion before thinking. Once you have created the intent to change you need to open yourself up to new ideas and consider that other people’s opinions are right too. Even if you don’t agree with them; realize that it isn’t worth arguing over. Slow down and think before you speak and learn to say you are sorry while you are breaking this habit because it will show others that you are trying to change. Don’t worry – you aren’t giving up your opinions but instead looking at it as a learning opportunity to see the other side of each issue and try to seek middle ground.

The need to be right is widespread in our society and is responsible for wars, murders, broken marriages, estranged families, and hurts everyone involved. Ego is a powerful thing and the more you feed it, the stronger it becomes. Instead of always trying to be right, try to love and accept other’s views. I promise this will give you greater peace of mind and a happier life.

Why Does Everyone Have to Be “Right” – by Jay Block, October 2, 2010
Ego, Anger and Being Right! – by Chantal Christine Boudreau, May 7, 2010
Being Right or Being Happy – by Yaakov Lieder