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Being right can be very wrong

Perspectives with Shirley Hallee
Perspectives with Shirley Hallee

Actually the title you just read needs to be adjusted a bit. It is the need to be right that can be very wrong.

The person who needs to be right seldom listens to others... and they often continue to make a mess of their lives.

The person who needs to be right seldom listens to others... and they often continue to make a mess of their lives.

Also, their choices and decisions can impact negatively on others. They are right and everyone else is wrong... and if evidence is shown to the contrary they insist the evidence is false.

The person who is always right does not apologize when things go wrong. They simply place the blame on someone else. Those of us who are parents, and those who work with children, are aware that the immature young person may place blame on a sibling or classmate as a means of escaping a scolding... or simply to retain a bit of ego.

Unfortunately, there are adults – some of whom have been around quite a while – who insist they are among the very small but elite group of those who are always right. In fact, they are so very right that when someone questions them regarding something they believe, or have said, they may even go on the offensive.

Over the past number of months it can be noted that an individual in the highest office in the United States might be such a person. When the news does not reflect “the facts” as he sees them he refers to the press as the false press. When a federal judge rules against his order he refers to that person as a “so-called” judge. When it appears that a person, or two, in his cabinet may have behaved improperly and that there could be repercussions... deflecting attention by accusing the past president of wrongdoing seems to be the answer.

Children often have difficulty accepting responsibility. They may not yet have a strong enough sense of self... authentic self... to understand that admitting they do not know it all is actually a sign of strength. Living is all about learning, and we can learn until we draw that last breath.

The ability to learn and grow goes hand and hand with listening... actually hearing what others – many others – are saying. The ability to learn also comes from having questions, then seeking to find the answers. That search is ongoing. What seemed right at age 19 often is called into question at age 30 or 40.

I get very nervous when an individual in power is unwilling to consider input – or opposing viewpoints. I also get a bit miffed when one church group states it has the “right” faith and all others are wrong. We all come from different backgrounds and even from different cultures. It would seem unlikely that one faith would fit all. I get especially upset when large industries state there is no global warming. Scientists are indicating that the opposite is true, and simple observation, and the fact that ice caps are melting and the oceans are rising would seem to warrant a wake-up call.

Life is interesting. Things, ideas, and attitudes change as one grows. I wonder if that is what is meant by becoming an authentic person? Wouldn't it be a hoot if those who are always right could be referred to as a “false” person?


Shirley Hallee’s column appears bi-weekly in the Amherst News.

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