As today’s rancorous political climate accentuates, we live in a highly polarized world. The scale reads “Right/Wrong” with acrimony on both ends. This turning of deaf ears to respectful consideration of viewpoints conflicting with our own often spills into our personal lives, influencing the way we make decisions about our relationships and perhaps more detrimental, our own self-worth. When we are rigid about concluding that one side is right and the other side is wrong, the person we adjudge to be right is praised and the person we deem wrong is shamed. In that scenario we must insist on being right because our self esteem demands it.
The danger in needing always to be right is how easily we slide into being self-righteous, which leads to sacrificing love in favor of superiority. In every relationship, be it with loved ones, co-workers, family and friends, at one time or another we will need to make decisions that run counter to another’s point of view. But it is not necessary to justify what we want and need as “Right” or “Wrong.” We do not need to justify taking care of ourselves by condemning other people’s opinions and motives. There is a big difference between setting boundaries and hiding behind being right!
Significantly, what happens when we stop being judgmental and accept others as they are, we allow ourselves to be as we are! What a relief it is to not regard every interaction as a personal challenge; to not feel besieged and guilty if we take a path different than the one they prefer we follow. And most liberating of all, to know we don’t always have to be strong to have true strength of character.
When we don’t see the world as either black or white, being vulnerable does not default to being weak. Quite the contrary; our strength is displayed by our willingness to be exposed; our acknowledgement that yes, there are times when we succumb momentarily to self-doubt and fear. Life is not all one way or the other. Our strength reflects the courage it takes to feel vulnerable when that is the emotion we are experiencing. We are not meant to be superhuman; simply being human will suffice.