Seven Reasons I LOVE Being Wrong.
- When I am wrong, it’s a pretty good indication that I’m not delusional. If my mind can change on a subject, even to doubt and waver, it’s a sign that my thinking is still flexible. Have you ever tried to reason with someone who’s delusional? It’s not possible. The more you argue, the more the delusion sets. This isn’t from any deficiency within the person, it’s a medical condition; a symptom of an unhealthy brain.
- I am at peace, or at least neutral, if I’m changing my mind- I am at my most resisting when I am fighting/arguing a point. Sometimes this kind of resistance is triggered, in me, when I’m really angry. When I’m in this emotional/mental state, it’s likely that my brain has locked itself up into an old familiar trauma pattern, and I am fighting, flighting, fawning or freezing. Often it’s a combination of fighting and freezing. It’s when in this state that I am the most likely to be hurtful with my words, injuring others and myself. I have seen this state directed at me, also, and especially when it’s firing both directions, it’s so unlikely that anybody will be operating with their most advanced brain function, that everybody is likely to be wrong, at least in speech and action, even if they’re correct. If, however, my mind is changing or at least changeable, I know that I am at least listening, hearing, reasoning. You can’t reason and fight off an ice bear. When I am caught in a trauma response, my brain is literally doing the same things it would have been doing in ancient times fighting off an enemy. THE SAME. The emotional experience of life or death is not a good time for an open mind, so if my mind is open, I know that I am not in an emotional/mental lockdown.
- No one gets to master anything immediately. Everything has to be learned. I am no exception. Some things I pick up more readily than others, because my previous experience or aptitudes lend themselves to it. Some things, I will struggle with more, as I gain the experience to know even how I feel about something, much less to have a declaration of right or wrong worth fighting for. If I am arguing something I know nothing about, I am probably arguing something else, and that’s what I need to figure out. I acknowledge the magic of uncertainty. I acknowledge the gift of education, research and specialized experts. If I come to realize something new by learning, either first hand or through the acquired knowledge of someone else, I am following my intuition and common sense (they aren’t different).
- I came here to learn. If I’m never wrong, I am doing literally the only thing I can do to fail at being a human. If I’ve lost the capacity to grow, I have become static, and that is a monstrous, unnatural state in a ever moving energetic universe. If I am wrong, I have added new information to my kit, and I can alter my actions to align with what I’ve learned, I will add more good to the world, and provide the proof of actions to the life story I am creating for myself.
- When I am feeling the need to have someone agree with me, it exposes an insecurity, an unsureness that is almost proportionately attached to the need I have for outside validation. Someones else’s opinion on a thing has nothing to do with me, and in other contexts, when I’m not emotionally engaged in a way that may be blinding, I am well aware of this and don’t need any external validation. I practice a mental elasticity drill wherein I take the opposite stance on something that I consider a given, something I’m absolutely sure of. When I described this practice with friends, I noticed a trend. When I used the example of the earth being flat as a stance I consider so obvious as to not be a stance, and then spent time really considering the arguments against it, I completely lost the engagement of my friends, even in the mindfulness exercise that this was really describing. They did not understand the point in considering the alternative, and did not even remotely care what I thought about it, and these were friends who I know care about me and mindfulness. When however, I brought the practice up again, with something more polarizing, more political in nature, or deeply emotional, they saw the usefulness of the practice, and even went on to try it, often finding humor or maybe even insight into another point of view. The practice helps to actively remind our brains to keep looking at things we consider a given. The point, though, is that when we are 100% sure of something, we don’t even entertain the argument. Nobody cared if I decided the earth was flat- because it is a belief so deeply held that they couldn’t even imagine someone they knew not believing it. If I feel like I need to convince someone of something, and it feels like that thing is fundamental, that is doubt and insecurity that I am expressing.
- When I am feeling the need to be in agreement with others, I remind myself that harmony is not external. Power in numbers does not work with belief systems, it only provides punishment for straying in behavior from the common system. This doesn’t mean that discussions shouldn’t happen, of course, because that’s how ideas get passed and adjusted, but that when I use these discussions as opportunities to hear as many ideas about a concept as possible, which will either lead to the other person gaining a clearer understanding of their position without the usual defensive, argumentative state that these ice bear situations have easily produced in the past. I will walk away still knowing what I already knew, and now more solidified, perhaps, in my opinion, if the ideas I heard were contrary to the framework I already believed in, or, with the piece of information I have been missing in understanding a concept. And once again, I came here to learn, and to me that means going with the most recent best idea- which quite often is an idea that has been around for a long, long time, and I have maybe accepted as true without examination.
- I get the chance to fail up. If I am not attached to being “right”, and I see myself as an investigator, a traveler, and not a static feature, I have a chance to chose my own adventure- a chance I don’t have if I’m too busy trying to control the outcome rather than enjoy the ride.
The photo is of beautiful red roses, in the worse distilling mistake I’ve made to date. I started out so sure of the result, but alas, it was a stinky mess. The good news: Now I know a little bit more. The next batch was better, and twenty after that was incredible.
I hope you find something in here to get you thinking about things in even a slightly new way, because small shifts can make monumental breakthroughs. Or, I could be wrong, thank goodness.