I always liked to be right. And from day one, I usually was. From arguments to advice to restaurant choices, my instinctive nature to look at every side of the story always caused me to answer with depth and thought in mind. But, being right can become addicting, indulgent. As I grew older, people began to listen to what I had to say. It felt like I possessed an irresistible power. I went from nobody listening to everybody listening. And I decided I liked it. But, I wouldn't hesitate to throw things and scream if the listening stopped.It's like tasting a sweet for the first time, only for it to be ripped from you mid-bite.
Like a pathological liar, I convinced myself that the reality I put myself in- in this case, that I was always right- was the reality everyone else faced alongside me. I assumed people just blatantly chose to ignore my always-right warnings. When I spoke, I saw myself as the influence. When I gave advice, I saw myself as the therapist. I stopped thinking "I'm usually correct due to knowledge and this benefits others," and started thinking, "I am the one who is not allowed to be wrong." If people listened to my ideas and it went well, I beamed! If not, I won't associate myself with that idea ever again. My constantly changing environment certainly didn't help me, with corrective parents and stubborn teachers and friends who searched for my aid, but my brains' overall toxicity caused the most damage. I found control in being correct, and when I lost that control, I lost everything. I would fall into a poisonous spiral in no time.
It's times like these where arguments, surprisingly, were beneficial.
You heard me, I believe arguments benefit my life. My closest friends refuse to roll with the punches and don't hesitate to set me straight. And to this day, I'm thankful they do that.
I'm not going to lie, these arguments or disagreements of views do usually consist of racing hearts and sobbing. My body tremors as I hold back salty remarks, only to get sugarless replies in return.
"Oh my god you always have to be right don't you?"
"You're annoying when you don't understand."
AND usually, I'm still the correct one. But these attacks snapped me out of the "I am not allowed to be wrong," state. Because in an argument, the other side is insisting that you are wrong. They want you to be wrong. They are granting you permission to be wrong- it is allowed. So long as they are right.
You can be so certain someone is wrong that you will scream at someone you love, insult someone you love and hate someone you love just for the chance to be right. Arguments taught me that nobody wants to be wrong- no matter how wrong they are. Arguments taught me that you don't have to be right to be passionate and that this whole "right or wrong" ideal can destroy people. Arguments taught me that nobody is always right, including myself. And that's how life goes.
But surprisingly, violent arguments aren't what taught me the most.
Only a few days ago, I bought a cute, mustard yellow shirt. It was placed in the yellow section of the store, the tag called it yellow and when I put it on, I saw it as yellow.
I later bought the shirt and showed my friends. "Look at this yellow shirt I got!"
I stared at my best friend in horror.
We spent the next few minutes rowing back and forth in a laughing rage on what the colour was. Even another friend joined in, yet I wouldn't back down. It was yellow, and that was final. I was so distressed by my friend's insanity and the fact that they didn't like the colour that I forgot what a step up that shirt was for me.
You see, the shirt was a midriff, and I finally felt confident enough in my skin to wear it. But once it wasn't the yellow I thought people saw (just because I saw it that way), I immediately distasted it.
Two days later, I yanked the shirt out of my bag,
"CALEB IS THIS SHIRT YELL- CRAP IT IS ORANGE." Ah yes, denial finally wore off. The shirt was held up in the light and I noticed it's sunset hue. I laughed it off, but I still felt uncomfortable when I glanced over at the shirt.
In the past, being wrong about something psychologically impacted my view of that thing. For example, I spoke less and less to my brother with every new time he'd correct me. I thought it was only best. If I'm not right, then nobody can discover I'm wrong. Not even myself.
And now, that way of thinking still, evidently, haunted me as I couldn't even glance at a shirt. The stupidity of the colourful situation opened my eyes.
"For goodness sake, I am uncomfortable by a shirt that looks great on me because I called it the wrong colour." I realised I had trained myself to only like things I had been right about.
It's at that moment I finally realised how damaging the "How I see it is how everyone does and should see it," mindset of the past was for me.
Even when the facts are right in front of your nose, you can be wrong. Being wrong isn't fun. But it's normal. Don't hate something because you make a mistake in the process. Through others, I've learnt that people value being right just as much as I do. And I learnt that no matter how right I'm convinced I can be, I will still
A) Disagree with people or,
B) Be wrong.
Arguments and orange shirts taught me how to live a healthy "right or wrong" mindset. They taught me that from day one, I always liked to be right. But, from day one, my addiction to being right was psychologically damaging.
And that's why I wear my orange shirt with pride.