When I was a young child, my mom told my sister and I that if we ate candy before noon we would get worms. She even cited an example of this very horrifying thing happening to my dad when he was a kid. And I wholeheartedly believed her – so much so that I was still trying to convince my peers not to ingest gummy worms for breakfast in university! (I actually called my mom after that incident and she confessed to her very impressive trickery that successfully worked on me for 19 years).
Then there was the time I lovingly wrapped my arms around the back of my brand new husband only to find out that I’d actually snuggled up to my brand new father-in law! And the time more recently that I was absolutely certain I’d checked my rearview mirror and then proceeded to back directly into my neighbour’s brand new Mercedes resulting in thousands of dollars in damage.
In each instance I was absolutely convinced that I was right….until I learned I was wrong. And trust me, there are many more examples (which my kids would be only too happy to share if you ask). I’ve screwed up, made a fool of myself and been wrong countless times. And my point in sharing these stories is not to convince you that I’m a complete bird brain but rather to suggest that perhaps there is more vulnerability, honesty and connection in our foibles than in our certainties.
The thing is that most of us (myself included) identify much more closely with our own beliefs about life than with the things we don’t really know or understand. We think we are absolutely right about our views on politics, parenting, relationships, lifestyle, career choice, religion, exercise, sports, nutrition and on and on and we are only too happy to share our stalwart views if we are asked. So what does this unwavering loyalty to our own convictions do to our relationship with ourselves, each other and the world?
“The attachment to our rightness keeps us from preventing mistakes when we absolutely need to and causes us to treat each other terribly.”
A good friend recently sent me the link to this brilliant Ted Talk by Kathryn Schultz called “On Being Wrong“. It is totally worth the 20 minutes to get some insight into the importance of not only admitting to our mistakes but also to owning up to the possibility that we might be wrong…..about everything. And since I’ve already seen it I’ll busy myself with preparing my breakfast of Kit Kat bars and sour keys (take that mom ; )
*Email followers – you may need to go to my site at www.lorileighwilson.com to view the video.