Not too long ago, I was traveling out of town so I took a car service to the airport. Everything was going fine, the driver was being cautious and safe, that is, until we got to the airport.
As he was pulling in to drop me off, some woman cut him off. His response? He starts honking his horn, obviously all angry and mad at what was transpiring before him.
My response? Well, there I was, sitting there feeling pretty chill because these sorts of things happen from time to time. Obviously, he wasn’t about to let that happen, which is when he tries to drag me into his fury. He looks in his rear view mirror, his eyes piercing into me, and he says in an elevated voice, “Do you see what happened?”
Of course I did. I was right in the back seat and how could I not help but notice that he suddenly hit the brakes, sending my head forward in a whiplash type of motion. But he didn’t really want to know whether I had visually witnessed the situation. What he wanted was for me to validate him, to bolster his ego. He wanted, almost needed, to be right in the fact that she could’ve hit him, reinforcing that he also had the right to respond the way he did.
The problem with this is that his response—not her initial action—could have resulted in something far worse than possibly getting hit. He was so hung up on proving that he was in the right and she was in the wrong that we almost got into a car accident. Worse yet, if that other driver hadn’t driven away like she did, it could have resulted in a physical altercation…all because he had this need and this want to be right. Have you ever found yourself in the same predicament?
In this regard, being right can do us more harm than good. Essentially, our ego gets in our way of living the life we want to live, starting a chain reaction that takes the initial action from bad to worse, solely because of our response.
Even though it’s hard, sometimes we’re better off letting go of our ego and deciding that we don’t have to be right. We can make the conscious decision to be healthy instead. We can decide to let go of the things that really won’t matter five, ten, or twenty minutes down the road and focus on the things that will.
This can save us physically, by not provoking a fight with someone who could potentially outweigh or outfight us in our efforts to prove that they’re the ones who were in the wrong. It can also help us mentally, by not sparking that fight internally, the one in which you go through all of the things you’d like to say to the other person or the things that you belittle yourself for not saying or for feeling, telling yourself how you handled the situation all wrong.
Letting go of being right prevents all sorts of fights, both real and imagined. It lets you go about your day without regretting things you said or did and it also makes it easier to put the situation in your past, never to harm your future…which is right where it belongs.