Thursday, July 20, 2006

because i said so dammit

what is it about my pride that is so fierce when someone tells me i'm wrong? why does it vex me so? it shouldn't. people are wrong, all the time, all over the place. the world keeps turning. more often than not, we don't hate people just 'cause they're wrong, with the exception of stuff like, oh i dunno, making up reasons for war and bullying everybody into going along with you. but besides stuff like that, being wrong is so not that big a deal, especially if you make some kind of mistake. honestly made mistakes are really just these understandable little occurrences that happen to everyone.

there's a possibility that i made a mistake. to my understanding, i have not. there are only two possibilities, that i have, or that i haven't. and the world won't end if i did, in fact, make a mistake. but to some extent, it's a matter of remembering what i have or haven't done, and i remember doing what i was supposed to do. i'm confident that i have not manufactured some recollection of not making a mistake in order to dub over having made one. i was there. i know. i'm not wrong!

i don't like how condescending people can be when they think you're wrong. i wonder if i'm like that when i think someone is wrong. i'm argumentative by training, yet smart enough to know how to choose my battles. but sometimes it can take all of my restraint to take the humble route and allow folks to say what they believe without correcting them and being... right.

i am so often right that it's difficult to carry either being wrong, or being possibly wrong, or being presumed wrong, with grace. i am usually on the other side of the divide between right and wrong, comfortably ensconced in the superiority of righteousness, generously taking the high road by using discretion to decide whether or not to condemn or to lovingly and patiently correct whoever has made a mistake, or uttered a faux pas, or misspelled something beyond recognition.

i attribute some of my struggle with this to my experience with my dad. bless his heart, he always means well, but in true virgo fashion, he is quite the critic, and even when he's wrong, he ain't wrong. i never really liked his self-righteousness much, or the fact that he didn't even realize (or care) that he was so proud that he was beyond reproach. funny how the traits you dislike in others may very well irk you despite the fact (or because of the fact) that they're traits that mirror your own. i like to think of myself as openminded and humble enough to own up to my share of being wrong. and in many respects, i do, and i'll readily admit when i've been in the wrong, whether reluctantly or eagerly. but it's not so easy when i disagree. if i subjectively believe that i'm right, that's all that matters, besides using my acuity with words and the strength of my will to make sure whoever else may be "confused" about my righteousness gets set straight on the matter. i suppose that i can do better than that, and i suppose that i can try to recognize that my subjective opinion is but one side of an objective reality, and that just because i find myself to be right, that doesn't necessarily mean that i am.

pssssshhhhhh, who am i kidding. i know myself. i'm more likely to hold on to my opinion and inwardly accuse my opponent of some inferiority - a warped memory, a blind eye, a swollen sense of pride, a lack of intelligence, a judgmental impatience. this, my friends, is why my faith tradition is important. i have to believe in a Creator that's better and more perfect than me. otherwise, understanding of my human frailties and forgiveness of my mistakes would take a backseat to condemnation, and my memory and existence would be forever marred by my shortcomings through the infinity of existence, long after the earth reclaims me.