Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Being Right.

I had a fascinatingly maddening conversation with a government employee yesterday, who was so fixated upon being right, that anything I said fell upon deaf ears, she just kept repeating her statement that "No-one in this office would have said that."

It didn't matter that she wasn't present at the original conversation, didn't know for certain what had been said, she made a statement, and then became "the immovable object" in pursuit of support for the position she'd taken. I'd forgotten what this sort of conversation was like - I haven't had one in a long time. (I haven't had a new sponsee in a while, I guess.) The original reason for her call seemed to have been lost, she was completely focused upon trying to force me to agree that she was right, and I was wrong. I sidestepped it all, got off the phone and thought:

"That's exactly who I was, before Al-Anon."

It took me back. I remember that feeling of having to be right; once I'd made a statement, feeling that I had to defend it no matter how ridiculous it became as the other person explored it. I recall very well that rigid determination to make the other person wrong, and myself right.

In retrospect, I believe that I took that sort of stand because I had so little belief in myself. Any questioning of me, my thinking, my beliefs, or my philosophy of life, felt terribly threatening and hostile. There was no room in my world for any other viewpoint than my own; other ways of seeing felt like an attack, instead of an alternative.

This is one of the blessings of 12-step for me - being able to sit quietly, relaxed and engaged, as another person, (or many other people, if I'm at a meeting,) presents their view of a situation. I've grown so far in this regard; rather than sitting stiffly in my chair, arms and legs crossed, mind closed, locked, and reinforced, I am able to receive those different opinions, and examine each one closely before deciding if they offer me a helpful recourse.

I've learned that other people's opinions can be a gift from my Higher Power; that I can get along quite happily with someone who has the opposite view of a large portion of life. I can utilise those opposite views to temper my own. I no longer have to be right. I don't have to have an opinion on everything, I can say, with no shame or embarassment, "I don't know what I think about that."

I can say, and mean, "You could be right." I can speak my piece, and then sit back, and let the other person disagree vehemently, without feeling attacked. Perhaps they will make the one point which suddenly illuminates for me, an area that was always in the shadows, and I will have an awakening as a result of that shared light. I can "Listen and Learn."


  1. Yes, "you may be right" is a favorite phrase of mine. I'm glad to have the 12 step program as well.

  2. I just started blogging tonight and have just read a few of your posts and I am looking forward to more. It's nice to have this wisdom outside of a meeting when it's on my time. Thank you for this.

  3. I came over from Syd's blog and I'm glad I did. Great post! jeNN