I’m self centered and egocentric enough to know how powerful it feels to be right. I love it when knowledge, history, and intuition become vindication when others have doubted me. The flipped coin of that feeling often looks like being wrong.
Being wrong can feel wrong. We’ve all been there. What starts as confidence takes a swift turn into uncertainty. You’re pulled up short in a moment that sends chills up your spine and raises the hair on the back of your neck. What felt like a powerful strut through life is suddenly met with doubt and confusion. What looked like certainty requires a back pedal and that’s covered in shame. How often are you proud of not knowing the answers?
Being wrong is covered in negativity. What happens when you make a mistake at work? You get written up. You get fired. You aren’t promoted or asked to lead or teach others. When you’re right, it leads to raises and bonuses. It’s a place where you’re recognized and appreciated.
Life is rarely about dualities. There are so many shades and flavors to every life situation. There is too much beauty to simplify any concept. I mean, even gender is fluid and changeable, and most humans start as either female or male.
As a student, we’re often called on for an answer that we might not know. I hated standing and giving an answer I didn’t believe in. If I was wrong, I was wrong in front of a whole class. That embarrassment would have followed me throughout the day. I would have wondered what my classmates thought and believed they were making fun of me even though no one ever cared.
I remember the first time I walked into Victoria’s Secret for a bra fitting after dropping about 40 pounds (divorce diet miracles look a lot like eating like I might love myself). I knew I was going to be larger than average. I always have been. I just wanted a fitting to know what my size was and I was prepared to look elsewhere. I was right about my size but wrong about the sizes they now carry. It was a good feeling. I got to buy something cute and the person correcting me upsold a matching panty.
I like being wrong lately. It means I get to learn from the experience and grow. It means my understanding and knowledge and expectations are expanded and stretched.
I’m temping at a company that requires at least an hour commute each way. I was so set against a long commute for so long but the rewards on this position were big enough for a short term compromise. On the first day, I accepted the stretch in working at a company so far from home. On the second day I was grateful that I could see what it was like to work in a huge company that has a basketball court and lactation room for employees with a welcome dog culture. I was able to see a company that has a lot of the good things I have heard about but never experienced. By the third day, I realized that sitting in traffic for over an hour doesn’t matter when I sing and dance in my seat every time I drive somewhere. I was wrong. A long drive isn’t a big deal.
I expect to have many wrong answers as a mom. I won’t always see the repercussions of my choices. I expect my boys to call me out and they do.
I grew up with a narrow enough view of the world to believe the news about Muslim people until I met a Muslim couple. She was a dominant A type and he was quiet and respectful. . . Maybe submissive by American standards. I was wrong about who I thought they were. My life was made richer by knowing who they are as people and letting my compassion and love for them show me how to see others in the world that I know nothing about. I was wrong and there is a reward in seeing that.
I was wrong about a person. I had my judgements and ideas and I let my know-it-all moment decide the depth and fate of a relationship for me. I had an opportunity for a do-over. A few different do overs have made me so happy lately. My ideas were met with understanding. My perception expanded in empathy. I can say I was wrong, and I have been so lucky in being able to really experience this person. I’ve met more than I knew to ask for in so many beautiful ways.
Be a safe person that someone else can admit they were wrong to. Admit you were wrong and see the many ways it can be right. You get to shift your perception.