My Rashionale: Is it really about a need to be right or merely to be understood?


October 9, 2019


So what is it about needing to be right? That it is our way or the highway?

I remember phases and seasons where my attempt to explain my reasoning or be understood came across as needing to be right. Granted I have had (and do have) moments where my stubbornness wins — and I’m determined to be right.

But for the most part I actually only want to be understood. I am wrong a lot but sometimes it takes me talking things out, processing with others and thinking around the full picture before I can see clearly.

It can be extremely frustrating when the other person won’t allow my opinion to matter and have value.

Sadly I know I’ve done the same thing to others when the discussion seems to be going in circles or I’m in a hurry and become impatient.

One thing I’m learning is to postpone complex conversations until I can truly focus on the other person and give him or her the appropriate time and attention needed.

At the same time I’m working to avoid surprising others with intense discussions. 

If I get worked up about something and spontaneously call the person involved or walk into his or her office and immediately start sharing what is on my heart and mind then I’m setting myself up. 

What if the other person is under extreme pressure to complete a deadline or just received difficult news or maybe is exhausted from any number of circumstances?

The other person’s ability to truly listen and calmly discuss the situation may be debilitated in that moment and the result is likely not a positive one.

So saving these types of discussions until both parties can focus helps achieve the goal of being heard and understood.

A second thing I’m learning is to take a breath and let the other person fully explain what he or she is attempting to share before I jump in and share my opinion.

It’s also important to truly listen and understand, not just humor and endure. Ask questions and clarify. Take the time to grasp what is being said.

Who knows, you might discover something you didn’t know. You might even realize the situation is not as clear cut as you thought. 

And the other person might change his or her mind about the issue after a thorough discussion.

If I can pull away from needing to make sure my thoughts on the situation are heard over everyone else’s in the room and the others know they will have a chance to share, then emotions typically calm down and a genuine respect and trust surfaces.

Working to understand the other person’s reasoning doesn’t mean we are agreeing with it, but it does demonstrate we value the other person and want to learn everything we can about a situation before finalizing our take on the matter. 

It shows we are committed to truly understanding the full issue and not merely determined to be right whether we have all the facts or not.

  • David Garrard Magic