Being Right is a Powerful Narcotic

“I’d far rather be happy than right any day”

– Douglas Adams

We get addicted to the stories we are spinning. It feels good in our minds to “figure it all out” or “be in the know.” Somehow we believe that if we know what is happening we will be safer from it. I can definitely see the allure of that type of thinking.

There is so much fear in the not knowing that it causes us to defend our theory, sometimes to the point of alienating our friends and family who do not agree with us. There is so much more fear when we feel we don’t know what is happening, so we tend to fill in the blanks with information we have collected, heard or read that “makes sense” to us or fits into our story. This information is not always gathered from reputable sources, but as long as it aligns with what we want and further serves to prove our point, we will push it at anyone who contradicts us.

I see people espousing some of the strangest, most far-fetched ideas just to continue believing their theory is correct. I imagine it is a way for folks to maintain an illusion of security by being able to name a villain and call them out. It just seems to me that we are neck deep in a wave of mass hysteria, because so many of us have a pathological need to be right – and to shed some of the fear we feel with the current state of the world.

However, one of the problems with that is the incessant need to keep validating our theory. Once we have decided we know what is happening and have invested our emotional self in our theory, we become attached to it and struggle to see things from a different perspective. This is a dangerous and often destructive habit.

I will admit I believe there is much going on behind the scenes that I am unaware of. We are all in that boat. Yet I see people on Facebook, Twitter and various other social media platforms that are absolutely certain that what they believe is reality and anyone who does not agree with their perspective is “blind,” “an idiot,” “sheep,” or immoral. So much of what is being said on social media and, for that matter, in our more traditional news outlets is said to heighten emotions and escalate regular decent human beings into a frenzy of fear and paranoia.

I am seeing so many families and friendships torn apart by what is happening in our country between our political climate, the Black Lives Matter movement and COVID-19. It is a strange sort of tragedy that all of these things are happening to us. What is happening right now in our country is a divisiveness that I never thought was possible. I was wrong. But to me, this intense divisiveness also means that it is possible for an incredible cohesiveness to occur as well. It makes a certain kind of sense akin to the notion of not being able to feel happy without experiencing feelings of sadness – of not appreciating the light if there is no dark.

These are dark days for certain. We are all participants in the experience, perhaps not personally but certainly as a culture. There is a war of misinformation that is so widespread that the actual truth, when it is reported or revealed, is often met with cries of fake news by whichever side is opposed to it. There is so much spin on the truths out there it feels like we are on a bad carnival ride that won’t stop, causing this ever present feeling of disorientation and sickness to our stomachs by simply checking our Twitter feeds.

So what are we to do to slow down this crazy roller coaster gone off the rails? Well, I feel like we can start, at the very least, by bringing civility back into our conversations…even with those whose views are diametrically opposed to our own. This seems hard, impossible even. It is, however, the only way. All of this hatred and name calling is destroying us, our families and our communities. We have to stop yelling and screaming at each other for a minute and just listen. We don’t have to agree with everyone else’s perspective, but maybe we can learn something if we actually listen to what is being said rather than silently preparing our next defensive comeback. We may walk away not feeling any differently than we did at the beginning of an exchange of ideas, but at the very least we can walk away with our dignity in place – and allow the other person to maintain their dignity as well. And maybe we can take back a small piece of our humanity too.

“Discussion is an exchange of knowledge, argument an exchange of ignorance.”   

– Robert Quillen

I hope you enjoyed this post. Please let me know in the comments. I look forward to hearing from you.

If you are interested in my personal blog it can be reached here. Sending you all love and light!

60 thoughts on “Being Right is a Powerful Narcotic

  1. I totally agree. People are also afraid of being wrong, and admitting to being wrong. It is easier to continue down the path, than stop, turn around and go another direction.

  2. I totally agree; being right all the time will not allow you to learn more, you will get stuck up, and, as FourLoves2 said, you will not listen to other’s opinions.

  3. I wish there was a “love” button to your posts! I couldn’t agree more with every detail of this post-especially the title!. I grew up in a rural area where people constantly try to prove “I’m right” no matter the cost. To be honest, I thought that was how you’re supposed to act until I moved away from that town and saw that it is possible for people to have two different opinions and still be respectful towards each other. I wish there was more civility and compassion throughout the world instead of this divide and defensivenes.

    1. I grew up in a small town too so I know what you mean. All this hatred spewing from people it feels so heavy in my heart. But I choose believe in us and that we can and will do better!!
      Thank you for reading and commenting!!

  4. Excellent. Well said. I don’t believe this is our demise, but rather a cognitive “shake up” of beliefs that no longer serve our society. I saw a great show dignity and respect for all persons, even the police, among the majority of protestors with a consistent message and commitment to non-violence. I saw a great deal of restraint used by the protestors when pushed back by the police. Many of the protestors attempted to physically restrain those that would fight the police or vandalize businesses. There will always be those that act violently out of anger due to ignorance, immaturity, or political ideology that use such demonstrations to their own advantage, but as long as the non-violent majority stands up to them, new empowering beliefs will emerge and be embraced by the majority. These recent events are few of many to come. “The only constant in life is change.” – Heraclitus. Those of us who feel that consistency or routine is security will feel the pain of insecurity, but it will be worth it for future generations.

  5. i agree. i think we had learned the difference between right and wrong and from our birth
    and so we insanely try to do every right thing and slowly slowly stopping our growth.

  6. Very well expressed..
    We all live by our beliefs…some passed down generations..some acquired in life journey…..’ I am always right’ is the major wrong in our lives ..not listening rather not evening making an attempt to hear the others view point is the biggest problem in the present times…what is fake and what is a fact…the dividing line is fading ..

  7. And sadly, it seems as if social media isn’t social after all. It gets worse when other fans of the ‘offending posting-man/woman’ start believing in the ideologies without giving a second thought to it. Then you have to deal with the backlash from fans before reaching the source. It’s just sickening sometimes but we will try.
    There’s always hope❤️🌺

    1. You are so right. I see it everyday and it makes me sad for people who isolate themselves behind the wall of their beliefs. Thank you for reading and commenting on my post!

  8. For this reason when it comes to the internet especially, I try to keep what I say clear enough that there’s some basis in what I say, but ambiguous enough so that they’re allowed to consider whether to believe what I’ve said or not, regardless of what evidence I have to support what I’ve said. When it seems as though everyone is trying to prove themselves right, I feel like the kindest thing I can do is to take a step back so that others have room to breathe and reflect as opposed to feeling like they have to fight back.

  9. Strong relationships withstand the tests of time and brave the hardships encountered as though they are the necessities for survival.

  10. Sometimes it’s really scary that you know everything and you are just afraid of it. You just let it go as you thought of. You are just lost in this alignment. How scary is this to think of but imagine being in there. You are just not you anymore but in these glasses which will break out no sooner. It’s a parallel we will never run away.

  11. Admitting that you don’t know is tough for some people especially when admitting to such would affect the way you want the story to go.

    Also people need to stay teachable- the ability to learn, relearn and unlearn – would come in handy for whoever desired simplicity over complicity in their live affairs.

    Thanks for the insightful post- a help to humanity.

    1. “Especially when admitting to such would affect the way you want the story to go.” That is the crux of it isn’t it? We struggle accepting a reality that we do not want and is pushing us to change. Thank you for your kind words and your comment 🙏🏼

  12. Loved this post! Indeed dogma is a dangerous thing. It means that there’s no room for reflection or growth of any kind. I am considering deleting my Facebook account as the judgement and hatred that I see on it is really quite upsetting. Multiple perspectives need to be considered and a culture of transparency in society where people are able to ‘get things wrong’ would help. After all isn’t that how we learn?

    1. You are so right! I have had the same thoughts about deleting my accounts. I can only hope that we swing around as a culture soon. Thank you for reading and commenting!

  13. This is so so true. In my opinion, we’re so obsessed with being right that we often forget that it’s okay to be wrong, it’s okay to have a different perspective because sometimes that’s the only way we can learn! I feel like this insanity reduces the opportunities and limits our intelligence! Such a great post!
    I’ve written my take on it, would love to know what you think!

      1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. It’s refreshing to know that there are individuals out there calling for listening and releasing a resistance to understand others.

  14. This is so insightful and relatable. I can relate to struggling with accepting that I am wrong.

  15. I’d say that the root is the perceived need to be in control which can be fed by claiming to understand all that is around us. Other than that I agree with you. We need to look outside the bubble which reinforces our views, which means less focus on social media which is designed to reinforce our own viewpoint.

  16. Such a genuine read,Thank you for sharing .Yes !! we all have to work on our capacities to listen more .I also believe its not enough to be right we have to be kind also .So that we can understand other’s perspective better.

  17. During my teacher training at times we were encouraged not to admit when we didn’t know something. Sometimes overtly, sometimes more an implied suggestion. I’m glad of the times I admitted I didn’t know, or that I was wrong, so the class and I could find the right solution together.

    Telling someone they are wrong, without asking why our entering a discussion, is no way to encourage people to even consider other perspectives exist, let alone think critically about the ones they hold.

    I’m so glad to read your post encouraging discussion. My heart bleeds for the world and the many different struggles people are experiencing, while I inhabit my relatively safe home in New Zealand. I know I fall prey to becoming angry about things, but every day I try to be better.

    Kia kaha, (start strong).

    1. We are all in it together 💙 It is hard for me too sometimes to not get discouraged by all the hate and fear but we must keep our light bright so that others can find their way. Thank you for your insightful words😊

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