Monday, May 30, 2011

"If I knew what I was doing, I'd be doing it right now..."

I'm not generally a fan of country music, but Keith Urban's I'm In is a pretty awesome song. There's a similar sentiment in a Calvin and Hobbs strip that goes something like, "If I knew adults were making it up as they went along, I wouldn't have been in such a rush to grow up..."

I got hit in the head with a door today. I'm fine. In fact, I saw it out of the corner of my eyer and went, "That's odd... the door shouldn't be there..." *THUD* Let's hear it for hollow-core doors! And my reaction was surprisingly... not. I did a quick check... yeah, didn't even hurt. I mean, it hurt in the moment, but the pain was already gone. No reason to do anything except laugh and put the door up better next time. Then I noticed the hook in the back of the door and thanked my lucky stars I didn't try and save myself. I probably would be reporting from the ER on how I impaled my hand! *laugh* All's well that ends well...

I thought I put the door up right. I mean, sure, it's not on it's hinges, but I had it leaned up at a far enough angle. Or so I thought.

I'm glad I laughed at myself. I could have very easily gotten angry, or self-depreciating, or something similarly non-productive. Because we're taught from a very early age (through out school systems) that being "correct" means that you're "smart, responsible, virtuous... safe." In our culture, "to be wrong, means there's something wrong with us." Kathryn Schulz's On Being Wrong is a marvelous talk:

To paraphrase one part (if you don't have the 18 minutes), when our beliefs on how the world is doesn't match with someone else's view, we generally fall into a bad pattern. First, we assume the other person is ignorant. They don't have the facts we do, and if we just bestowed those facts to them they'd come to our side. If we find out they have the same facts, we next assume they're idiots. They just can't put the puzzle pieces together. But if they're also pretty smart, well, then we assume they're twisting the facts for their own malevolent purposes. We're so concerned with not being wrong ourselves, that we start to assume the worst in people.

I've found, through my own experience, that people can be their most compassionate when we allow humanness in ourselves. Yeah, being right is great, but not having to worry about some pedestal I "want" to be on means a lot fewer knocks on the head! (In spire of the occasional wayward door...)

When I stop worrying about getting the right answer, I find I give myself more time to look at the situation and make sure what I'm seeing is really what I'm seeing. This has proven most useful in my relationships with other people, but has has proven to be gold in my relationship with myself.


1 comment:

  1. Oh how true! There is a great question to ask -do I want to be "right" or do I want to be happy? because very often the two are mutually exclusive and trying to persuade others of the "rightness" of your view or attitude is pushy if not plain rude.

    Thank you for reminding me of this! Great stuff