Whether we’re in the midst of a pandemic, political upheaval or merely the ups and downs of a normal day, there is something incredibly freeing about saying:
I was wrong.
I was mistaken.
I didn’t understand.
Every day, even if you’re not consciously paying attention, you are learning. Growing, learning, and being mistaken about things. What a gift! What a joy it is to be wrong. I know that may sound strange, but admitting you were mistaken paves the way to self compassion, openness and personal evolution.
Yet, it can be incredibly hard to admit being wrong. The ego hates it. The ego clings to a false sense of security and importance from thinking it is all knowing. The ego loves to think it’s king of the hill. One way it feels inflated is to be right about everything. Sadly, that limited worldview discourages change and growth.
In an earlier piece on the site I wrote about four words that will change your life (see: Thank you, I’m sorry.) I still believe those words are relationship and life-changing; but, growth and relationship change is not always about apologizing for being wrong, even though that’s often a wonderful and useful thing to do as it allows you to recognize that there’s still plenty to learn.
Admitting you were wrong is one of the most amazing ways to move away from an ego driven state to one motivated by open heartedness and curiosity.
Curiosity, creativity and experimentation will almost always save your bacon. This philosophical triumvirate can turn even the most odious situation, whether external or internal, into something truly amazing. What’s incredible is how your worldview, and your self image, can expand and change.
What prevents this hubris-annihilating behavior? Fear. Fear of seeming weak, wrong, or diminished in some way. All misguided ideas that come from insecurity fueled by denigrating advertising and social media.
Deep down, everyone feels insecure about some things, advertising and social media tap into those insecurities with unattainable images of how you and your life should be and encourage putting on a false front by pretending to be something you’re not. Admitting you’re wrong flies in the face of that; so, at first, it’s very difficult to do. Difficult, but not impossible.
There is so much joy in being emotionally and intellectually flexible. Admitting you can be wrong is one of the most freeing things on earth. It opens you up to new ways of thinking. It seems to me we need that now more than ever with deep societal issues of income/racial/gender inequality, climate change, and pandemics that descend in a nanosecond.
Copyright Nicole S. Urdang