On Being Right

For the majority of my life, I have been obsessed with being right. It could have stemmed from a multitude of things, like being the first-born child, stubborn, or just plain terrified of being wrong. Being wrong, to me, was like a disease, and once you start being wrong, you’re wrong forever.

Obviously, and ironically, I was thinking the wrong way about being right. Everyone has their own version of right and wrong, true and false. This leads into my senior year philosophy class, wherein I had the classic the-first-time-the-public-school-system-made-me-think-really-hard epiphany: there is no truth.

I’ll save you and me from the debate: truth is purely perceived. Truth is completely based on opinion, unless it’s scientific fact or something. So that means, when fights occur, all you have are facts. I said this. You said that. The interpretation of the statements isn’t truly valid because people are vastly, vastly different.

That’s another thing I learned: no two people think exactly alike. So someone’s interpretation of the truth could be the complete opposite of another’s.

It’s okay to let other people think you’re wrong. It’s okay to not do anything about changing their minds. It doesn’t mean you’re giving up. It’s actually mature.

People are going to believe whatever they want, whatever they think is right, whatever satisfies themselves. Of course, this shouldn’t enable people to act in whatever way they choose; no, one should always act as the best version of themselves (another elementary school-ism I didn’t bother thinking about until this year).

This is where the whole independent thing comes in: at the end of an argument or a horrible situation in which no outcome can be decided, you just have to do what’s best for you. And this has been insanely hard for me. I have always put the opinions and truths of others above my own. It’s so easy to remove yourself from your own wise counsel and listen to others, when they just as easily could have an interpretation you can’t fathom.

Your interpretations and your truths are what really matter. They are what will carry you throughout the course of your life. And if you truly think about the arguments in your life and the solutions you have for them, ask yourself: Will I still be proud of the way I handled this situation in one/four/five/ten years from now?

If the answer is yes, just do it. It doesn’t matter if you’re right. It doesn’t matter if it’s the truth. It doesn’t matter if everyone accepts and supports your decisions. If there are bad consequences, so be it.

 

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