If you have to choose between being kind and being right, choose being kind and you will always be right.
We all find ourselves in moments where someone says something or does something that is clearly wrong and almost inevitably, our reaction is to wish to correct them. We do so with expression/nonverbal language, words or actions. We anticipate in our effort to rectify the wrong and presumably to “help” the other party know what is correct and what is not.
But is this always our best course of action?
Sometimes we are best served in our efforts to find our own harmony or balance by recognizing the parameters of a situation and knowing fully that our most intelligent or most compassionate course of action is to skip the step of correcting the other party, and just allowing things to be as they are.
We are programmed to achieve, succeed, conquer and prevail. It is our nature. Yet, in doing so, some of our courses of action are on a collision course with variables that would hinder either our happiness or that of another. So is it always so important to be right?
I think that there are many moments in life that are easier to keep my mouth shut and not create a discord or disconnect between myself and a third party. In those situations, I have learned (many times via the “hard way”) that my most strategic choice is to avoid all conflict and go with the flow. Sometimes this is easy, other times, it requires discipline and self control.
We are always so certain that we are correct. But that is not always the case. In fact, there are many times when it clearly is not. Have you ever almost said something with devout certainty, and then opted not to? Later, you discover how wrong you truly would have been, and you breath a giant breath of “thank God” for having bitten your tongue. Perhaps this stems from our raising our hand in school to volunteer an answer, only to be told you are incorrect in front of all of your peers. After that happens, we may become more circumspect in our choices of what we opt to publicly volunteer, and what we are more well served to keep in our own mind without opting for a public exposure to what we believe is correct.
Other times, we are confronted by someone with a massively disparate perspective from that of our own and as a result, we are more likely to wish to confront them with what we know to be true, but something inside stops us because we know that the outcome will be that they are going to be highly confrontational, arrogant and closed-minded about whatever we are considering to share with them. In that pause before speaking, we calculate the response, anticipate our reaction, and in that vague image of unpleasantry, we stop our confrontational thought from being spoken, so as to eliminate all of that outcome from transpiring.
And to the point of the aphorism that sparked this, sometimes we would love to jump in and make another see quickly how wrong they are, but in our choice to engage, we project their reaction to whatever we are mentally considering to share, and decide that we are better served keeping our own counsel because to respond will send them into a lower frame of being, such as reprimanding a child for something that was innocent, but wrong. In a moment like that, we are left with a choice of being either a referee parent or a coach. The referee parent blows the proverbial whistle at every single infraction, whereas the coach absorbs most of the minor infractions as long as the child is moving (in general) down the correct path. Or perhaps we are dealing with a senior citizen who is starting to lose memory and is repeating their stories and we are considering correcting them. But we opt not to because we know to them it is important to share those stories with us, and so we absorb the moment in an act of kindness, rather than force an issue of who is correct.
Kindness goes a long way in life. Many times, being kind is always the right solution, even if the other party is clearly wrong.