Lesson 2 From Transforming Anger In Relationships
The Solution That Ends Arguing Is Being WILLING To Be Wrong
'What? Saying I’m wrong would automatically make me a failure! Place me as a loser in the eyes of my opponent! No Way! Not going to happen!' Although you may never have said these words out loud, you’ve probably heard them whispering to you in the privacy of your mind. But these words reflect a deep misunderstanding of my offered solution.
Being willing to be wrong is not the same as being wrong.In the beginning, it will probably feel this way to you. But in actuality, willingness isn’t automatically followed by the action you’ve stated you’re willing to explore, i.e., that you are wrong. There is a different path of exploration to follow – and this Lesson is going to guide you to its presence existing right there on the inside of YOU!
Why ‘Willing To Be Wrong’ Equals A New Dimension Of Consciousness
Willingness is defined as an inclination toward something; a readiness to explore a new impression or idea; or a disposition toward openness and receptivity. We misunderstand the notion of ‘being willing to be wrong’ when we assume it means we’re willing to accept the opposing point of view as our own. And even worse, that it is better than the point of view we’ve been arguing for. What is the most powerful way to understand this ‘willingness to be wrong’?
View 'willingness to be wrong' as the activation of your desire
to move beyond the realm of right vs. wrong.
Why We Resist Being ‘Willing To Be Wrong’
Have you ever enjoyed being wrong? I suspect no one does. Few of us are comfortable with that niggling feeling that can arise in the midst of an argument. you know. It whispers that perhaps we actually might BE wrong. And we definitely don’t want anyone else to know we’re wrong.
But it’s easier to deal with these strong, unconscious beliefs, and feelings of aversion to being wrong, if you understand why you feel this way. There are major contributors creating this powerful drive to avoid being wrong. Here are five of them, including why paying attention to them makes sense to our unconscious mind. And that's important to understand because it is the power driving our actual behavior:
Unconsciously, most of us still believe that being wrong means awful things about who we are.
- The Delicateness Of Our Ego – When we’re wrong, it hurts. I mean, it really hurts - in body and mind! Have you ever consciously felt this contraction, like a stab in the heart? Our ego actually labels being wrong as dangerous to our sense of well-being and confidence. If this were true (which it is not), then it would only make sense for the unconscious mind to help us avoid it at all costs!
- Our Over Inflated Sense Of Pride – This is our deep feeling of pleasure or satisfaction derived from our achievements (or the achievements of our close and beloved associates). Being made wrong feels like popping a balloon and releasing the air that created our pride’s high-flying position above the ‘ordinary others’ in our world. Obviously, finding a way to sidestep this unsavory predicament becomes of prime importance to the unconscious mind.
- Our Culturally Conditioned View Of Success – Even though you may have transcended this conditioning consciously, your unconscious mind is probably still quite addicted to following its guidance. To be successful in today’s world, it believes you obviously have to do everything right – and mistakes (or being wrong) means your success is in jeopardy. It’s only prudent then, to deny our mistakes - even when we know we did make them. Our unconscious minds are quite ok with telling a few white lies to avoid feeling embarrassed or ashamed, or seen as a failure.
- Our Commitment To A Positive & Untarnished Image – As human beings, we are completely susceptible to how others perceive us. Even when we consciously understand that the way others see us doesn’t determine who we are, we remain scrupulous in attending to our image. For most of us, being seen in a bad light can still create an emotional tsunami. So, again, to the unconscious mind it seems quite reasonable to protect the notion that a good image equals emotional survival.
- Our Desire To Keep Our Weaknesses To Ourselves – Being wrong can weaken our position in an argument, and thus our credibility. We feel a loss of the power we grant to those who present as strong and confident. The unconscious mind thinks being wrong equals a lack of strength and leadership capacity. This is a state of affairs most of us definitely want to avoid, whether it’s around creating healthy dinner menus for the family, leading a community group, or gaining recognition as a stellar team member at work.
Why ‘Willing To Be Wrong’ Is The Key To Easy Relating & Greater Happiness
As I said earlier, being 'willing to be wrong’ opens the door to a different way of looking at life and at relationships. Arguing is generally an emotional reaction (unless it’s an agreed upon debate following debate rules). So how do you turn this emotional reaction into a well-thought-out response that INCLUDES the desired outcome of your long term happiness - and not just being right in the moment?
The answer is reflection.
But to do this, you must first become aware of the very real wide-awake trance I call ‘I Am Right’.
The ‘I Am Right’ Wide-Awake Trance
Easy relating is not an outcome of this hypnotic call to battle. Because it is unfolding while you’re awake, it falls under the category of somnambulism, or hypnotic sleep walking. Even though you think you’re wide awake, this perspective places you under the influence of an unconscious drive to engage in battle and win your point of view as the correct one – no matter what! But once you become aware of this unconscious desire to fight for your viewpoint as truth, you have the opportunity to awaken from the trance and silence the call to this kind of combative engagement. How?
Winning an argument doesn’t get you anywhere in the world of love and connection - the super foods for positive, workable relationships. In fact, winning an argument often places you in a profound sense of separation and isolation. You’re right, but now you’re alone. Ever made your point and got the other to agree you’re right? How long did the sense of satisfaction last? What kind of consequence followed this moment of victory? Was there a sense of let down on the inside? Or perhaps unpleasant consequences on the outside directed at you by the loser?
Redirect your attention and energy to what you know is MORE satisfying.
The Power Of Reflection
Reflection allows you to learn how to stay happier longer. It frees you to go for the maximum amount of happiness available in relating. Now here’s the cool thing.
It invites the wonders of deliberation, critical thought, and wisdom to enter the dynamic. In your desire to stop arguing, you start to reflect on the all the reasons you are for or against what you’re arguing about. This requires a bit of contemplation or thoughtful observation. But you will not EVER be able to do this if you are caught unawares in the ‘I Am Right’ trance.
'Willing to be wrong’ automatically creates this redirection of attention and energy for you.'
Curiously, these well-thought-out responses will often be the exact opposite of those unconscious knee-jerk reactions that create the stuff of which arguments are made! In Lesson Three coming up next, you’ll have the opportunity to reflect on two truly powerful perspectives that will help you dissolve the desire to argue in the blink of an eye. These viewpoints naturally shift your argumentative reaction toward behaviors that nourish more long-term happiness and peace of mind. But for now, here is a little video followed by some Tips and Action Steps for becoming more conscious of the ‘I Am Right’ trance and the five major contributors that keep you unwilling to be wrong.
‘Willing to be wrong’ automatically opens the door to reflection and your ability to create well-thought-out responses.'
The Onion Dilemma
Enjoy this little video based on my real life experience of having to be right and being unwilling to be wrong. Click in the lower right hand corner to view full screen. ♥ By the way, the names have been changed to protect my partner's and my innocence.♥ Click play button below to watch video.
- Forgive yourself for any unwillingness to be wrong. It’s only natural. You’re human, after all.
- Don’t get mad at your ego. It’s doing what it’s designed to do which is protect your sense of self while traveling through this crazy, confusing, and not-so-kind world.
- It’s said that vanity is the hardest thing to let go of. So be kind to yourself and just relax. We’re all vain. All you’re trying to do here is become conscious and mindful of the concern about image when it arrives – and I guarantee that will be very, very often.
- In reality, success only arrives through the mechanics of failure, or how we learn what works and what doesn’t. Failure doesn’t mean a thing by itself – only how you respond to its arrival on the scene.
- Strength only grows in the presence of weakness. Weakness is the time when our energies regroup, renew, and revive. Paradoxically, the guy in the gym only builds those muscles by working them until they’re so weak they can’t go another moment.
- Keep track: Put some pebbles (or your pet’s kibble) in your pocket or purse. Each time you feel yourself dig in your heels, clench, or contract, move one of the pebbles into a different pocket or a baggie. At the end of the day, check out how many pebbles (pieces of kibble) you moved from one place to the other. You’ll have the number of times you were mindful or conscious of this unwillingness to go with the flow of whatever was unfolding.
- Keep a journal: Record the reasons you found yourself be unwilling to ‘go with the flow’ of what’s happening (review the 5 major contributors above):
• You think your way of doing something is right
• You think it’s better than someone else’s way
• You don’t like to be told what to do
• You’re embarrassed you made a mistake and someone else noticed it
• Any reason that comes into your mind
- Track how often you find yourself in the ’I Am Right’ trance. Using a different color or shape of pebble, track how many times you decided you’d rather be right and argue than learn about why the other thinks the way they do.
- Write down what you discover about the ‘I Am Right’ somnambulistic wide-awake trance state by reflecting on the experience, either when you’re in it, or after you’ve stepped to the side and are observing it unfold