Why Do You Always Need To Be Right?

Why Do You Always Need To Be Right?

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to address the need to be right and explain how it kills our happiness and destroys our relationships.

First a quick update:

“Gunman kills 3 people in a gym – Why?”
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Now, let’s talk about the need to be right.

The dictionary defines “right” as: the state or quality or an instance of being correct; correct in judgment, opinion, or action.

Recently, I was dining with a client and some of his friends in New York City. One of his close friends, Lisa, works as a consultant in the fashion industry. As we were discussing fashion trends, Lisa began to say that New York women dress much better than Miami women.

I began to wonder to myself, “Is that really true?”

My mind said, “No, she is wrong. I know that Miami women dress better.”

As we discussed and debated the finer points of fashion sense, it was obvious to me that Lisa was taking this personally; after all, Lisa is from New York City. She became heated and agitated. Her tone of voice was changing and her face was scrunching – her young face was quickly filling with deep lines on her forehead. Wow. Lisa was almost becoming angry.

And, of course, the more stubborn she became the more I wanted to point out to her and prove to her that she is wrong!

I paused for a moment and reminded myself that I have a choice; a choice in this very moment.

With a gentle smile and voice, I turned to Lisa and nodded my head, “You know what Lisa? You are right.”

Of course, she began to repeat her points of argument and each time, I gently said “You are right.”

Very soon, Lisa was smiling and calm.

Lisa had been vindicated.

So why did I choose to tell Lisa she was right?

I had a choice: continue to argue, make both of us agitated, maybe win the argument and be right but with a result of a tense and hostile night and relationship. I chose instead to be happy! How important is it to be right?

I called this newsletter, “Why do you always need to be right?”

Is being right truly a need?

The only real needs we have are: food, water, shelter and love. The rest are desires, wants and cravings.

And most of them come from our ego which translates into destructive behaviors that we engage in, in order to validate ourselves internally by something external:

  1. Telling people how they offend us by their behavior and that they should do such and such – namely change and conform to our way of being and living
  2. Seeking to win at all costs – even our happiness and relationships – so that we make the other person a loser and us a winner
  3. Trying to be better and superior to others and thus, judging others based on their appearance, achievements and possessions
  4. Craving and wanting more – never enjoying or being grateful for what we have – and never feeling satisfied regardless of what we have
  5. Attaching all of our self-worth and value to what we have achieved and then feeling empty when we find we still feel the need to achieve more
  6. Attaching ourselves to other people’s opinions of us and always fearful of our reputation and image, leaving us fragile, anxious, easily shattered and hopeless since we cannot please everyone
  7. Fighting to be right – the intention of making others wrong, fearful of questioning our own beliefs in case we might be wrong.

All of the above behaviors have one thing in common – trying to look for something outside of us to make us feel better inside. And when we do that we engage our ego and we separate ourselves from others, we become disconnected.

I could have possibly won the argument with Lisa but we would have created a rift and resented each other, for every time we engage in the need to be right, it is easy to become angry, hostile, bitter, cold and resentful. Inevitably our result is we push people away and we feel alone.

It’s our ego that creates the destructive need to feel “better than” or more “right” than others.

When faced with the craving to be right, ask yourself, “Do I want to be right or do I want to be happy? Do I want to be right or do I want to be loved? How truly important is this?”

It wasn’t critical nor that important that I be right about who dresses better – women in New York or women in Miami. After all, the truth is it’s just an opinion and opinions are always changing and fluid. Thus, I didn’t need to be right with Lisa.

One of the most important and critical mathematical equations of life is:

“Being right does not always equal happiness.”

Try replacing the need (craving) to be right with the desire to be kind and seek to create your sense of self-worth and value from within and not from without. Work on clearly defining who you are, what is important to you and from where your value comes.

Using hypnosis CDs can also help to shift your feelings and beliefs about yourself, worth and value. Consider my CD – “Feel good about yourself and become more confident”. It works on a subconscious level, uses imagery and symbolism to shift your thinking and perception and, it helps to release negative emotions.

If you would like to comment on this newsletter, click here.  if you have received this newsletter as a forward and would like to receive all of my newsletters please enter your email address on the home page.

I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & Clinical Hypnotherapist

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7 replies
  1. Avatar
    Jennifer Rodriguez says:

    Thank you Patrick! I’ll consider what you said and look to forgiving myself. I appreciate your advice and I’m glad that you’re not advocating giving up principles. I apologize if I jumped to conclusions but it’s just that sometimes I feel these details have to be made absolutely clear or people get the wrong idea. Thanks again and all the best!

  2. Avatar
    Jennifer Rodriguez says:

    I found your newsletter very interesting and in general, I agree with you but what if your need to be “right” centers around something more?
    For example, I recently had a problem with a friend about this. I was in a situation where I was working on a business plan with a business team and for reasons of severe differences of opinion, I was kicked off the team.
    I told a good friend of me that I was kicked off the team and before I even had a chance to explain why or even my side of the story, he immediately turned around and said to me, “It’s your fault! It’s all your fault!”
    I got upset because I hadn’t even explained to him my side of the story, much less even why the team choose to kick me off. But he brushed off any attempts by me to explain my side and just kept insisting that it was all my fault.
    I could have continued arguing with him and asking him to listen to me but instead, I just apologized and said to him, “You know what. You’re right, it’s all my fault!”.
    But I only said that to keep the peace and to finish the inane conversation. He got happy after that and it ended. But not for me inside.
    Since then, I feel nothing but anger towards my friend. I don’t speak to him anymore and avoid him all the time (which is easy because we don’t have daily contact). I feel he was totally unfair to me, he didn’t even listen to my side of the story and just jumped to the conclusion I was wrong. And while I did let go of my “need” to be right, I only did it to keep the peace. The truth is that a part of me can’t help but feel I was a total wuss and just gave into his male chauvinist ego to keep the peace. I feel like I let him walk all over me, just to keep the peace. And now I hate him, I never want to see or speak to him again!! (Of course, he doesn’t know this. He thinks everything is okay and the only reason I haven’t contacted him is because I’m busy. But actually I’m angry at him!)
    Don’t you think that sometimes the need to be right is justified? What would you say in a case of racial injustice? Let’s imagine a black person accuses a white person of racism and let’s assume for argument’s sake, the black person is right. But the white person continues to deny the racial charge. Would you advise the black person to just drop it? There’s a racial injustice involved here! If the black person doesn’t insist, the racial injustice will never be corrected.
    How would you comment in the recent case of what happened between Professor Gates and the Cambridge cop?
    The need to be right can be more than just an “ego” thing, don’t you think?

    • Avatar
      Patrick Wanis says:

      Dear Jennifer,
      you have raised a very critical point: when do you let go of the need to be right and when do you fight for what you believe in?

      In my newsletter, I gave an example that related to an “opinion” about fashion. I didn’t need to be right. My sense of self-worth does not need to be attached to being right about something that is not important. Recall also in the newsletter, I suggested you ask yourself, “how important is this?”

      When someone is attacking you, the issue is important. Yes, you needed to defend yourself.
      When I say let go of the need to be right, I am not promoting the idea of letting people walk all over you so that you feel weak, helpless, useless and then eventually angry and resentful towards the other person and yourself for giving in!

      Maybe, for you, this was not about you being right, but it was about presenting your side of the strory and not letting other people condemn you and blame you. Also, note what you wrote:

      “The truth is that a part of me can’t help but feel I was a total wuss and just gave into his male chauvinist ego to keep the peace. I feel like I let him walk all over me, just to keep the peace. And now I hate him, I never want to see or speak to him again!! ”

      There are times when you must stand up for what you believe in. There are times that you must show people that you will not accept being disresepcted.
      Again, the key is balance: how important is this topic and disagreement? How important is it that I be right about this?

      You could have asked him to explain why he says that it is all your fault. Listen carefully and openly and if he is just attacking you, kindly end the conversation.

      May I kindly suggest your next step is to forgive yourself for having made a mistake in the way you handled this guy and for not having stood up for yourself. Next, consider what kind of conversation you would like with this guy – what would you like to get out of it? Maybe, you simply want to be heard…

      I hope this helps and please let me know how it goes. And remember, be gentle on yourself!
      All the best,

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