What if the best thing you could do for the success of your relationships were to be wrong?
If you’re like most of us, raised in a family and a world which has made you wrong just for being you, you may feel like being wrong is the chasm you struggle to avoid at all times, while living most of your life with at least one foot on a banana peel. So how could being wrong actually work for you?
It’s a tool you can use. It’s something you can say to those you’re in relationship with that will immediately smooth the waters.
An example, a true story from the annals of Gary Douglas, best selling author and founder of Access Consciousness, can illustrate this beautifully.
One of his clients called him up from the Caribbean island where she had gone to visit her mother. “Help! My mother is driving me crazy!” she told Gary. Her mother was a born again born again (a fundamental Christian who’d lost her faith and found it again with vehemence).
“Tell her she’s right and you’re wrong,” advised Gary.
“But I’m not wrong!” insisted Gary’s client.
“I didn’t say you had to BE wrong,” he advised. “You just have to SAY you’re wrong.”
The woman followed his advice, the rest of her two-week visit went peaceably, and when she left, her mother gave her a check for $5000.
Are you wondering how and why this tool works?
The key to it is that almost everyone in the world feels just like you do: desperately and irrevocably wrong, and therefore determined to prove that they’re right on peril of death. Deep down they’re so convinced they’re innately wrong that they have to prove they’re right in order to survive. How easy is it for someone in this position to gracefully admit they’re wrong? How easy is it for most people on the planet to gracefully admit they’re wrong? Would you consider there is immense power in being willing to be wrong when no one else is willing to do it?
The further irony is that once you say to someone, “You’re right, I’m wrong,” they most often totally melt off their own position. After the woman visiting her mother said this to her mother three times, her mother said, “You’re not wrong, dear, you’re just mistaken.”
In a business example, one woman was dealing via email with an employee in another country who was a rage-aholic. After one venomous five-paragraph email, she wrote back. “You’re right, I’m wrong. I am truly sorry for the distress caused in your universe. What can I do, if anything, to make up for the damage done?”
The angry employee moved from being a volcano to saying, “Never mind, it was just bad judgment on everyone’s part,” and being generous and helpful.
This can be used with a twist when dealing with teenagers. If you remind your teenager that it’s their job to prove you wrong, the whole atmosphere can lighten up. “Fortunately, it’s not difficult!” was the response of one teenager. Laughter heals much more than tears!
A third sentence, “What can I do to make up for the damage done?” is a further way to use this tool. If you find you have a relationship that’s been damaged by your insistence on being right, you can ask the person this question as well. In other words, you say, “You’re right, I’m wrong, what can I do to make up for the damage done?”
Most often the amends the person suggests are so minimal that you may wonder why you waited so long to offer to make them!