Judging other people and situations as wrong in and of itself isn’t a bad thing. It is what it is. However, it does come at a price. When we get stuck in a right-versus-wrong paradigm, there’s nowhere to go except toward more tension, stress, anxiety, unhappiness, and so on. Typically, when we look closely at the cost, we realize that whatever the payoff to our ego is, the cost outweighs it. Children love playing on playground equipment - didn't you when you were younger?
We don’t surrender our rightness by giving in and declaring ourselves wrong; that’s just another way we’d be right about being wrong. We don’t let the other person off the hook or validate what they did (being right is a really juicy morsel to give up, isn’t it?). We let go of our rightness simply by our willingness to ask ourselves, “What is being right costing me?” Often the answer to that question is connection, peace of mind, love, real power, our sense of freedom, and our authenticity. We get the satisfaction of feeling right and justified in our position, but really, so what? What does that ultimately do for us? Any outdoor area would be made more child friendly with monkey bars such as these.
I saw in my own life how, for a long time, I was operating out of so much righteousness and resentment toward my parents. It was covered up in “Oh, I love them so much,” and while that was true, it was a glossing over of this other unspoken issue I had about how they’d wronged me growing up. I eventually had to get myself present to what a self-centered jerk I’d been—I was filled with all this judgment, resentment, and false entitlement—and what that was costing me. Love, connection, intimacy, my energy, my creativity … all of these things were being drained from me because I was operating out of “I’m right; they’re wrong.” When I finally let go of mentally punishing them, gave up the payoff of being the victim, and took complete responsibility for my life, I was freed. Play hard with outdoor fitness equipment designed for both children and adults.
My whole life was altered. I came out from hiding and discovered my authenticity; it was a breakthrough into a far brighter, happier existence. In my experience, rightness is a very powerful brick to give up. To this day, it still rears its head for me. Whenever it does, I can acknowledge its presence and give it up. I keep doing so, again and again, and then create a new way of relating differently out of choice rather than reactivity. From that I can write whatever story I want as the author of my life.
The need to be right can really limit you. Let’s say that someone is giving you feedback, corrections, or coaching advice. What do you do? Most individuals move immediately to defend themselves. If the criticism is heard through your “not good enough” filter, then you take it as negative: “I just can’t do anything right,” “I blew it,” or “I screwed up.” Then you probably spin it to make the other guy wrong, explain why you didn’t do something as well as you usually do, come up with excuses, or even go on the offensive and attack. If you’re angry, you might slam doors. Maybe you stay polite and smile, but inside you’re boiling. You internalize it and feel bad about yourself (in which case you still get to be right about how “not enough” you believe you are), get passive-aggressive, or simply believe that the other person is confused and doesn’t know what he or she is talking about.