The greatest challenge for the Christian life, for any life in that matter, is humility. Pride comes most naturally. Even when we know we’re wrong we still may not relent. And there are many forms of pride, just as there are many situations where pride creeps up and gets the better of us.
“One of the greatest ways to be humble is to get comfortable saying, ‘I was wrong’.”
Identifying And Sympathising With Our Perfectionism
If we’re not perfectionistic, and as far as wanting to be right any of the time we are, we can foresee the truth in the above quote. If there’s one thing we’ll struggle with perfectionism over it’s being right versus being wrong. We do not like being wrong. Hurt pride is as visceral as it’s carnal. Even the most pious of people struggle with pride; in fact, especially these.
Whatever the reasons for our perfectionism, we can see our need of it; in this case for the protection of ourselves in being right. Being wrong means we’re exposed, vulnerable and under threat. Even if we’re not perfectionistic by personality, a sense of perfectionism will drive our need to be right in a world where we’re often wrong.
It’s best we just understand and accept this about ourselves. Everyone struggles similarly.
Identifying with our need to feel safe and protected is the first step in understanding our perfectionism regarding pride. This is a normal human drive working appropriately. But it won’t get us too far in our relationships. Relationships require some sense of vulnerability; in other words, trust. Saying, ‘I was wrong’ trusts the other person.
The Freedom In Being Happily Wrong
Venturing into the perfectionism mentioned above we sense a trap. Upon pride there’s always a trap; it always ends badly if we don’t recoil back to the truth by humility. If we stick there our guns, despite truth to the contrary, our relationships will suffer.
Being happily wrong is admitting we can’t be fully right in every circumstance. Indeed, we’ll only be partially right in most circumstances. In the relational world, never will we be fully right and the other person fully wrong; except in the case of abuse or neglect. If we accept this we’ll have great relationships—because our relationships are more equally footed.
If we can accept this, we can accept being wrong at times when we are, and quickly we can get over ourselves and the barriers to healthy relationship.
Being wrong is a universal human competency. We all do it well. Admitting when we’re wrong is power for all our relationships. A path to humility is in being happily and courageously wrong when we are.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.