How being wrong can totally improve your life
I used to really hate being wrong. It was like a personal attack to my self worth, that somehow, everything I said or knew was, of course, right. This was exhausting, and limiting, and basically impossible.
I think we can all agree that other people aren’t always right. So how about us?
Here are some things I was wrong about:
People with old back injuries can’t become runners.
I would never let my kid do that.
Tomatoes are gross.
Starting a business isn’t for me.
Working at home isn’t an option for a nurse practitioner in pain management.
We will always be best friends.
These things may not seem that important (aside from the tomatoes which are very important to my husband). The important thing is that being wrong wasn’t a flaw, I was just wrong. No harm, no foul. Once I realized that I was wrong, that there was an alternative to my beliefs, it brought a lot of relief, a lot of possibility. Weird, right?
Can you think of something you were wrong about? If that feels harsh and judgy and uncomfortable, how about something you changed your mind on? Now ask, if you were wrong about that,
what else could you be wrong about?
When we open ourselves up to being wrong, we open ourselves up to possibility, to expansion. Being wrong doesn’t have to make your life worse, it can be the catalyst to make it better. It doesn't make you flawed, it makes you human.
These are unsettling times with pandemic, political unrest, economic fragility and uncertainty. We find ourselves wondering how these things are going to change the future we predicted for ourselves. In the words of Yogi Berra,
“the future ain’t what it used to be.”
The truth is, we never knew what the future would be. We fooled ourselves into thinking we did. We were wrong.
So what does that mean for today? If nothing is for certain in the future, how do I motivate myself to become the person I want to be? How do I strive for better things? How do I have peace with where I am now?
As it is, I don’t know what my future will look like. Who knows what the health or financial status of my family will be, where we will live or who will be a part of our lives? Who knows how many careers we will have or what we will end up doing? What I do know is what kind of person I want to be, what I want my future self to look like, who I want to show up as. Working toward that is really the only thing I have control over, and that's hard enough.
It's hard to work toward who I want to be, especially now, but I have an awesome (yet unusual) cheerleader,
my future self.
Think about it like this. When was the last time you were moved to really cheer for someone, all in whooping and cheering? Was it when your kid was in a championship game and it came down to sudden death? Was it when you finally discharged a patient who had been on a ventilator for 2 weeks and was actually going home? When you were next to your sister during the birth of her child or perhaps when your best friend got that promotion? When have you felt that swoop of emotion, the excitement, the joy, the tears, the shared experience?
Now imagine feeling that for you.
Imagine your future self, rooting for you, cheering you on, celebrating each win and having compassion for each obstacle.
What would my future self say to me about this time? As the person who has already become who I want to be, how would she direct or encourage me? How would she point out what I may be wrong about? How would she shed some light on the bigger picture of my day to day struggles? And to take it one step further, what could I do now to be kind to her, to set her up for success the way I would set my kids up if I could.
The future isn’t what it used to be, and this is great news. We were wrong about what it was going to be.
With wrongness comes possibility. Take it, your future self will thank you.
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