Always Being Right: Cognitive Distortion 14
In Always Being Right, We are continually on trial to prove that our opinions and actions are correct. Being wrong is unthinkable and we will go to any length to demonstrate our rightness. For example, “I don’t care how badly arguing with me makes you feel, I’m going to win this argument no matter what because I’m right.” Being right often is more important than the feelings of others around a person who engages in this cognitive distortion, even loved ones.
Here’s a story to illustrate Always Being Right.
Lana loved being a teacher and mom. She relished watching her children at home and school develop new skills. Watching a student go from frustrated to enlightened was Lana’s biggest joy. Unfortunately, as Lana aged, she developed a need to always be right. In her younger years, Lana loved being right and fought often over her opinions. She believed that people who were pushovers wouldn’t get ahead in life.
There was a certain magic for Lana in always being right.
However lately Lana was noticing her family, friends, and co-workers pulling away from her. When a conflict arose, people would automatically defer to her without any fight. She had relished the debate at times and loved coming out right in the end. She expected to be right in most cases. But lately, people weren’t giving her the fight back that she expected.
She wondered what was going on and started asking some trusted friends. The friends were hesitant to answer her at first but eventually came out that she had been too forceful for too many years. What Lana saw as friendly banter, was in fact, oppositional and defiant to other people. They were tired of the fight and wanted peace.
Lana decided to make a change.
She slowly started asking others their opinion and going with them, even if she disagreed, sometimes. Lana learned to pick her battles and only stick to her guns on the important stuff. Eventually, she learned to tell the difference between super important and more trivial items. Friends, family, and co-workers began to notice. They weren’t as stand-offish to her as they had been. They opened dialogue more often and trusted her opinion once more. Lana learned how to grow relationships instead of steamroller her way through life.
There’s a certain amount of trust people lose when a friend or family member is focused on always being right.
People don’t trust that they will be heard or that their opinion matters. Relationships involve give and take by both sides, otherwise, an improper balance of power develops.
Putting yourself out there with your opinion is hard, and even harder when you give others the space to be right. Being wrong is no one’s favorite, but it’s a skill that can be developed. By allowing others to be right once in a while, you build trust, which is the foundation of all great relationships.