Our egos see mistakes as being embarrassing, rather than inevitable. And, because we choose to be embarrassed, we also teach our mimicking children to be similarly ashamed of their mistakes. And, like us, they tend to hide them as a result. Meanwhile, that entire approach is based on the false premise that being wrong isn’t entirely normal, and healthy, and good.
Rather than reject being wrong, what if we welcomed it? Did we really expect to be right about everything for our entire lives? Of course not. Yet, ironically, our egos resist being wrong, when a major aspect of wisdom includes the ability to recognize our own mistakes.
While it may seem foreign at first, we’re wise to be grateful to those who point out our errors. They have helped us avoid that mistake in future. In that way, being proven wrong is a growth point, not a diminishment. We know more afterwards than we did before. It’s a plus. So we are better to stop resisting it as a process in our lives. The need to be ‘right’ creates a rigidity that leads to stress and cracking. Humility gives us the ability to flex and flow.
To grow in this way, it does us all good to practice being wrong. Try to find at least one example per day. But any time our egos will eat enough crow to allow us to accept a mistake, (and apologize if necessary), we grow. Over time, we develop an apology/change-direction mechanism that we can then use to quickly change our views on any issue. In fact, in a changing world, that changeability is where our resiliency resides.
Remember: our ego’s identity is created by our opinions. But our true self is in the thing that holds those opinions. And that version of us is big enough that it can bear discovering that its own thoughts are wrong. After all, our resistance to that idea is all in our heads anyway. 😉
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.