How to Be Wrong: A True Confession


I went for a long run this morning. Hubs always rides his bike with me on the long ones. He carries my water, cheers me on, and watches for traffic. He always has my back. How wonderful is that?  

Let me tell you. Wonderful! 

But today we got in an argument. It's difficult to run and argue at the same time. 
But I have a strong ego and I didn't care. I just kept huffing. Puffing. And arguing. 

Of course I wanted him to apologize to me! It was all his fault of course.

The story I made up in my head…you want to hear it?

He always does this. He never apologizes. I always have to apologize.
I'm right this time. He's wrong. He's ruining my entire run. Blah. Blah. Blah.

I justified my behavior and condemned his.

Does this sound familiar?

What is it about conflict that I love so much that I just want to hang on to it?

Grip it with all of my might. Attack anyone that gets in my way?

Why is it we that don't want to admit that we are wrong? Why is it that we'll give up our peace of mind to be right, once again?

There are several reasons. 

It's ego, pride, and selfishness. 
It's fear.
It's gives one a false sense of power and superiority. 
It's fear, insecurity and denial.
It's avoiding the consequences that being honest brings.
It's arrogance.
It's about saving face.
It's about the addiction to being right.
It's our ego in all of it's grand disguises. 
It's fear.

Everyone is wrong some of the time. Everyone. 

If I am not feeling peaceful. I am wrong. If I am not at peace I need to correct my behavior. 

I'm responsible for everything that is happening externally.
I can correct it by shifting my internal thoughts. That's it. It has nothing to do with the other person.

We are imperfect. We are human. We are often wrong when we want to be right.

Want to know how to admit when you are wrong when you really don't want too?

Practice letting go of your ego. Practice being the first to say I'm sorry.
Practice. Practice. Practice.
Admit that you are imperfect.
Let go of the need to be right and the need to justify your behavior.
Stop seeing yourself as a victim.
Be willing to stop the story in your head that is causing you to justify your behavior.
Drop your need to payback or get even.
Be open to another way of seeing things.
Be compassionate. Put yourself in the other persons shoes.
Be open to gaining a new insight about yourself.
See the situation as an opportunity to grow.
Get in touch with and heal your shadow side.
Take 100% responsibility for everything that is going on in your life.
Ask for forgiveness.
Offer a loving response. 
Practice. Practice. Practice, offering a loving response.
Be the love that you want to see and feel.

The rewards of admitting that you are wrong and need to make a shift:

Happiness and peace of mind.
Personal growth and authenticity.
You create an environment of tolerance for yourself and others.
It shows that you are open-minded.
You learn humility.
You enrich your relationships.
You build character.
Everyone feels better.
Everyone feels respected.
Everyone feels loved.

I am responsible for me. You are responsible for you.
Choose peace over the need to be right.
That's healing. You. Others. The world. 

Struggling with fear? Check out my course Take Your Fear and Shove It! 
Cuz life's too short to live without BOLD!

Please share your thoughts with us below!
Photo credit: Make Peace Forever

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Farnoosh April 13, 2012, 12:53 pm

    OK, Tess, brilliant piece as always but I have to ask: Did you end up apologizing first? ;))))!!!

  • Tess April 13, 2012, 1:08 pm

    Farnoosh,
    Yes but it took a while! I wasted half the day;) OK the entire day! This actually happened on Sunday and I wrote it Sunday as well.

    So many people have us on a pedestal because we’ve been together for so long. That’s why I shared it.

    • Farnoosh April 15, 2012, 4:20 am

      You are so awesome to sharing this with us. I am sad to admit how much time I have wasted being angry earlier in my marriage …. things seem to be good now but it does not mean those fights won’t come up – I just hope and plan every single time to be a little bit better. It’s a work in progress, Tess, and you are on a pedestal to me still if that helps any ;)!

      • Tess April 15, 2012, 8:19 am

        Farnoosh,
        Don’t look back, look forward. When we know better, we do better. We are all still works in progress. That’s why I wrote it. Someone close to me told me that for an entire year she hadn’t gotten in a fight or argument with her boyfriend. My response was, “Somebody is holding back.”

  • Kimbundance April 13, 2012, 2:11 pm

    Yes, sometimes when we are wrong and admit it we can teach more to others about what we did wrong, rather then not disclosing it in fear of embarrassment. Nicely done.

    • Tess April 15, 2012, 8:20 am

      Yes I so agree. It’s a growth opportunity and a peace opportunity for all.

  • Galen Pearl April 13, 2012, 8:15 pm

    Farnoosh asked the question that was on my mind, too! You hit on exactly what keeps our fingers holding on so tightly to our anger and self-righteousness…fear! When we recognize that, we don’t feel so powerful and superior. It opens the door to softening our hearts and reaching out to reconnect. Great post, especially because you shared something from your own life. Thank you.

    • Tess April 15, 2012, 8:21 am

      Galen,
      I don’t thing it matters who goes first. Judgment and ego have to be a part of it if that is made important. I’m all about softening and remaining open as well.

  • Glori April 13, 2012, 8:19 pm

    Its easy to blame other and justify our behavior than it is to apologize. But sometimes we have to accept that we’re wrong.
    Blaming others takes more energy so I realized. Just let it go, I say. and Live!

    • Tess April 15, 2012, 8:22 am

      Glori,
      If I’m not at peace I’m the one who has to make the first move. First within, then without. Yes let go and live. Well said.

  • Vidya Sury April 13, 2012, 9:00 pm

    I have a niece who is very stubborn about saying the word “Sorry”. It used to be amazing, how, right from when she was two years old and could speak, she would refuse to apologize. She would cry, sulk and waste a lot of energy on every thing else, but no apology. Sadly, she’s a very nice girl – a mom now to two kids – and continues to allow ego to get in the way.

    I hate any form of disharmony – and when a situation looks like its getting out of control, I don’t mind being the first to say sorry. Somehow it turns the whole thing around and we end up laughing.

    This post is something we all can identify with :D. Thank you, Tess!

    • Tess April 15, 2012, 8:24 am

      Vidya,
      I think it’s important to love her anyway and I’m sure you do. Thanks for sharing.

  • Lorii Abela April 14, 2012, 4:41 am

    I do admit that’s sometimes it’s really hard to admit that we are wrong. But once we let go of everything and apologize, we can feel that we are release from a burden. Thank you for all you advice.

    • Tess April 15, 2012, 8:24 am

      Lori,
      I’m all for not carrying burdens and baggage. It makes an apology even easier.

  • The Furries @ The Happy Club April 14, 2012, 10:48 am

    You touch upon some of the most difficult things there are to change…

    It is excellent if you try to become a better human but it is also very likely that you will continue to do these things.

    A first step is therefor to become more and more aware of how you function – and take care of the consequences when it happens… That is to communicate why you do what you do and appologice…

    • Tess April 15, 2012, 8:26 am

      Yes becoming aware is always first. However next is the action step of changing and becoming a better and bigger person. Most people I know mess up from time to time. The difference is when you know better it’s impossible to fall back and stay back!

  • Paige | simple mindfulness April 14, 2012, 2:57 pm

    This was a big one that took me a while to implement in my life. Doing so has certainly saved me a lot of wasted energy.

    It’s amazing the lengths that people will go to in order to be right. A few years ago I had a conversation with my very controlling father. There’s much about how I’ve chosen to live my life that he doesn’t agree with and he would let me know about it whenever we talked. I used to get defensive and explain my position but his view was always “my way or the highway.” I tried so many methods to resolve or, at least settle, our differences but he persisted in needing to be right. As a test I asked him point blank, “Would you rather be right than ever see your grandchildren or your daughter again?” Without hesitation he replied, “Yes.” That told me everything I needed to hear. For many reasons I’ve come to understand how he has almost always come from a place of fear. I accept him for who and how he is. I can’t change that. But I don’t need all that fear and negativity in my life or my children’s.

    Tess, thank you for showing how much freedom and happiness we can invite into our lives when we stop insisting on being right.

    • Tess April 15, 2012, 8:27 am

      Paige,
      Yes I understand that and you don’t need to be around that. That said, he’s coming from a very fearful place. It’s a call for love and you can choose to love him from a distance which I’m sure you do.

  • Fran Sorin April 16, 2012, 3:00 am

    Tess…
    I’ve been there many times before. Even if you prove your point, it still isn’t satisfying.
    That you’re able to see it what for it is even after the fact is a testament to the work that you’ve done on yourself. Thanks for sharing.

  • Jen Gresham April 16, 2012, 5:17 am

    One of the greatest joys and sources of pride for me is admitting to my daughter that I was wrong, that my behavior was uncalled for and based largely on my lack of sleep or the fact I am worried about something else. I try very hard to be the parent I want to be, but there are simply days I don’t manage it. My daughter has the same perfectionist, over-achiever tendencies that tend to trip me up. I think saying I’m sorry and showing her I’m sometimes wrong is the best way I can help her navigate life with happiness.

    Thanks for the great post, Tess!

  • Lisa at Practically Intuitive April 16, 2012, 5:43 am

    Hi Tess,

    Taking 100% responsibility is so important and so hard to do! I like to put myself in victim mode with the hubs too – in fact, your inner conversation sounded a lot like the ones I have. I own the fact that I do this and actively seek to change it. (a work in progress for sure!)

    Love your thought :”If I am not at peace, I need to correct my behavior.” – Yes. It’s the ONLY thing I have complete control over.

    Great post – thank you for sharing!

  • Don Cea April 16, 2012, 7:00 am

    This is a great post….truly simple but profound. We all struggle with this issue. Some more than others. I know this has been the biggest, toughest issue I deal with. I’m working hard to make my internal changes – in order to bring more peace and happiness in to my life. Thanks for sharing.

  • Karen April 16, 2012, 8:09 am

    Enjoyed your post. Thanks for your willingness to share your story. I loved the line about our own ability to give up our peace to be right. Now, that’s just plain wrong.

  • Rose Byrd April 18, 2012, 12:38 pm

    Tess, living WITHOUT fear and living WITH peace is just the answer for these types of going-nowhere conflicts. We are VERY WORTHY HUMAN BEINGS EVEN WHEN WE ARE WRONG! We need not fear BEING WRONG! Wonderful post that will carry me quite well back into my church family this evening when we have our famiy night meal and Bible Study. It is in those groups that I have the most difficulty maintaining inner peace! I have a new bit of inner peace just openly acknowledging this.

  • Noel April 18, 2012, 6:31 pm

    Hi Tess, sometimes it’s very hard to apologize especially when you think he’s wrong. I used to get miserable and upset whenever I’m in an argument. But now I try to remind myself of two things – “don’t judge” and “communicate”. As Mother Teresa said: “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” You even missed the big picture and the reason of the fight when you judge. Instead, try to talk and get to know each other more. That makes everyone feels better.

  • Imogen April 21, 2012, 8:07 am

    Great article. I wonder though, despite our reluctance to apologize perhaps it is still in some way “too easy”.

    Apologies are sometimes thrown out as a way of avoiding really empathic connection. I prefer expressing regret.

    This is part of awareness I came from listening to Marshall Rosenberg, a great peace maker. I talk more about his insights in my blog.

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