Monday, July 6, 2009

It's so Hard to be Wrong

Why is it so hard to be wrong? I guess this should come with a short disclaimer. I'm talking about everyone else. I'm never wrong. This is about everyone else. Really.

But it's so hard to be wrong. I watch my son do something without any thought to the consequences and then allow him to suffer the consequences and tell him why he's suffering them. He comes up with an excuse that is so ridiculously transparent that even he can see it. Why? Because it sucks to be wrong.

It took me several years to admit that my eating habits were terrible. Why? Possibly because I just wanted to eat whatever I want, but I think it goes deeper than that.

I used to think it was because a person was too prideful. I think that may be part of it. But I think it's actually a little deeper still.

I believe that one of the most difficult things to do is to admit when you are wrong simply because you are such a good person. One of your most fervent desires, one of those desires that you hold deep down close to the center of your heart, is to be right. To be good. To not make mistakes. When we discover that we've made a mistake in judgement, it hurts us to the core because we want to be good people, and we've associated being wrong with being bad, or at least something less than good.

Sometimes, when a person makes a mistake in judgement, he or she causes hurt to others. Sometimes this hurt is minimal, but sometimes it is very damaging to one or even many people. How very difficult it is to admit fault when the judgement you make caused hurt to even those you love. The friend who drives drunk. The frozen turkey-thrower of a few years ago. The parents who were raised on donuts and soft drinks who raise their own kids on similar things. The father who creates in his own son a low self-esteem while his desire was to improve the boy. Yes, all of these things harm our loved ones, and yet we many times cannot admit to that harm because it hurts us to the very center. We wanted to do right, and now we feel that the damage we've done in innocence is irreparable. And so we avoid the truth and hurt even more.

I believe that whether you are a religious person or not, the most life-giving concept you can understand is forgiveness. If a person can see plainly what has happened and then forgive himself for his mistakes, he then has the ability to move on. If he cannot do so, then he will be stuck in his own hell forever. The ability to admit ones mistakes is lifegiving to all involved. It allows for vibrant abundance where there was only a stunted hope of progress and growth. It literally allows freedom to make better choices later.

So while most of us find ourselves capable of forgiving others, let's now practice something that (for most people), seems to be much more difficult. Forgiving ourselves.

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