“So let’s leave it alone, ’cause we can’t see eye to eye. There ain’t no good guys, there ain’t no bad guys. There’s only you and me, and we just disagree.” -We Just Disagree (Dave Mason)
Have you ever had a really awkward, uncomfortable conversation with someone – the kind where they confront you over something you said? Where you felt like they misinterpreted what you meant? Or where you felt like you needed to defend your character because your thoughts on a topic differed? Well, it’s happened to me twice within the last week or so. One was in person, and the other was via the internet. Both situations made me realize how much I have changed (in a good way).
When I was younger, I was extremely argumentative. I loved to voice my opinion, I loved to have the last word, and I loved to be right. When someone said something which I knew was incorrect, I felt obligated to point out their mistake. I didn’t care if I made people look stupid or feel bad. I wanted to prove how smart I was – how much I knew about the world. For me, having knowledge made me feel good about myself – like I had something to offer.
“I realized that I could be right or I could be free.” ~Byron Katie~
In my early 30’s, I started piecing together why I did what I did. I came to know that my behaviour was caused by a lack of self-confidence. I had based my self-worth on whether other people thought I was smart. Because I didn’t actually believe I was good enough (smart enough), it never mattered how much I accomplished; there was always this need to prove myself.
When I figured out that the key to being happy was within me (i.e. by changing my thoughts about myself), I stopped taking my inner critic so seriously. I started thinking about how to be at peace. I stopped believing that others should think and act in certain ways (i.e. the way I wanted them to be). I started seeing how much I could learn from other people and how we can all be different and still get along. Now when I speak my truth, I am confident in my beliefs and also content with allowing other people to speak theirs too. I no longer feel the need to be right or to criticize others to make myself feel better. I am learning to be assertive without being aggressive. When someone confronts me about a comment I made, I allow them to express themselves freely without taking it personally. I can honestly agree to disagree. Not needing to be a know-it-all is one of the smartest choices I’ve made. As I let go of the desire to be right, I love and believe in myself more. The confidence and joy I had been seeking came simply by just being me.
“We can all benefit from listening and considering other points of view. Even if we don’t agree, it can give us a chance to consider if we’re honoring all parts of ourselves. And that is truly a blessing.” ~Rebecca A. Watson~