Everyone wants to be right. When we have disagreements with other people, we often focus more on getting our point across than we do learning about the other person’s point of view so we can come to an understanding. While desiring to be right is a natural response, it’s not always the right response. Today, if you feel like you have an insatiable desire to be right, consider taking some steps to release yourself from that type of burden.
Most people love being right. We play trivia games with friends and family members because we believe that we can answer the most questions correctly. We watch gameshows and play along with them because we love to see how much we know. Unfortunately, our innate desire to be right often bleeds into our relationships with others.
Obviously, there is nothing wrong with playing along with games that test our knowledge. However, our enthusiasm for these games often points to a deeper desire in our lives. This desire is simply to be right. We love to be right.
On his hit television show, Dr. Phil McGraw often talks to his guests about their commitment to “right fighting.” When Dr. Phil mentions that a guest is exhibiting this behavior, he is speaking about their refusal to listen to himself or other guests on the show because they simply want to get their point across. Instead of taking the time to process the information being presented to them, his guests often try their best to make their points known through loud and animated behavior.
In the social media world that we live in, right fighting is an everyday part of many lives. When we see something that we don’t like on our chosen social media platforms, we post our disagreements. When someone comes along and disputes our views, we are quick to reply back. This can lead to a back and forth that goes on for hours, or even days, with someone we may or may not even know. The odds of changing their mind, or of them changing our minds, are small. However, that doesn’t stop us from doing everything we can to make ourselves right.
Unfortunately, this desire to be right can easily bleed over into our relationships with people that don’t take place through a screen. Whether you’re talking about friends, family members, spouses, coworkers, or anyone else that you interact with in the “real world,” the desire to always be right can have a negative impact on your relationships with others. When we fight to be right, we often come across as angry, hateful, and with a perceived sense of self-superiority.
In addition to being dangerous to our relationships with others, the constant need to be right can have a negative impact on your own wellbeing. When you constantly struggle with needing to be right, your mental health will struggle as you damage your relationships with others. Moreover, the stress of always needing to be right can impact your physical wellbeing. Today, discover what it means to let go of right fighting so you can experience healthier, happier relationships with others and improved wellbeing for yourself.
Proverbs 12:15 (NLT)
Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.
Solomon was the wisest man (other than Christ) who ever lived. The Bible talks at length about the wisdom of Solomon and how he received the gift of wisdom when God told him to ask for anything he wanted. Instead of asking for fortune or fame, Solomon asked to be wise. God granted him unparalleled wisdom, and Solomon then used that wisdom to accrue great wealth.
He is credited with writing Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, which are the two books of the Bible referred to as “The Books of Wisdom.” In those books, Solomon speaks at length about the human condition, and how to live a Godly life.
One of the most effective ways to avoid the pressure to always be right involves remaining teachable. There is a saying among youth sports coaches that says, “Uncoachable kids become unemployable adults.” Obviously, we’re not looking at the concepts of team sports and employment opportunities, but that statement speaks to the need to always be right.
When you believe that you always have to be right, you become unteachable. According to Solomon and all his wisdom, the foolish believe that their own way is right, while the wise are open to listening to others. Ultimately, the decision to remain teachable speaks to the amount of wisdom that you possess. Obviously, no one wants to be foolish. However, when we believe that we are always right and that people need to listen to us, that’s exactly what we’re choosing. Choose teachability. Choose wisdom.
The Need to Be Right as it Relates to Jealousy
Proverbs 14:30 (NLT)
A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones.
Once again, we will look to one of the writings of Solomon to discuss the need to be right. When we think of jealousy, we often think about the desire to have what someone else has. For instance, when you see someone taking a luxurious vacation to a destination that you love, you may be jealous of that person, especially if you couldn’t afford such a trip at the time. When you see someone buy a large new home, you may be jealous when you compare your current living conditions to theirs. However, jealousy goes far beyond wanting the possessions of others.
In many cases, our need to be right is rooted in jealousy. We often associate being right with some level of power that we hope to achieve. While we often think of the person that we’re disagreeing with as an opponent who stands on the other side of the imaginary aisle, it’s entirely possible that we’re jealous for some sort of approval for our viewpoints.
Solomon correlated jealousy to cancer, while a peaceful heart produces a healthy body. There are physical ramifications associated with jealousy. We often find ourselves so stressed out by the desire to have “more” or to be right that we lose sleep, have high blood pressure, experience headaches, and any other number of physical ailments. The next time that you’re trying to prove your point, ask yourself what your motives are. Are you looking for validation? If so, take a step back and consider choosing a peaceful heart.
Being Wrong Isn’t the End of the World
Ephesians 4:2-3 (NLT)
Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.
Finally, it’s important that we understand that being wrong isn’t the worst thing that can happen to us. Consider the last disagreement that you had with someone. Whether it was through an internet platform or an in-person discussion, truly take a moment and think about the disagreement. What sparked it? What was the topic that was being discussed? How did you feel physically and emotionally during the disagreement? How did you feel about the other person during the conversation? How did you feel about them after? That may seem like a lot of questions, but those are important questions to ask yourself if you’re going to move past the desire to be right.
Once you’ve answered those questions, think about what would happen if you were wrong. What would the world look like tomorrow if your opinion on the matter at hand was proven incorrect? Would the world come crashing down? Probably not. Would the earth suddenly fall off its axis and plummet into the unknown if you were proven to be incorrect? No, it wouldn’t.
It’s easier to remain humble and gentle, even in the midst of a disagreement if you embrace the fact that the other person may never see things your way. When you understand that truth, you’ll probably ask yourself if the disagreement is even worth having. In many cases, it’s not.
A Closing Prayer:
Heavenly Father, help me to free myself from the burden of always needing to be right. Help me to move past my pride, my jealousy, and everything else that pushes me to seek to be heard instead of looking for opportunities to learn. In Christ’s name, Amen.