“To err is human; therefore, one of the most important skills we can develop is course correction.”*
Sometimes the wisest thing we can do in life is to realize and admit when we’ve been wrong about something. So why is it so hard?
There isn’t a person alive that hasn’t made some bad decisions along their way. Some of mine were much more life-altering than others. Some of them did more internal damage to my self-esteem than anything, but some actually deeply hurt people I loved. Many of my bad decisions were tied to incorrect beliefs that I held for far too long. I’ll openly admit that I’ve struggled at times to admit when I was wrong about something and let new evidence show me that I need to course correct… but I’m working on that.
One area in my life that I’ve done some major course correcting in over the last few years is my faith/religion, and people have started to notice. I have had several friends say to me recently, “Wow. Your spiritual beliefs have really changed over the last few years. What happened?” It’s interesting because those friends fall into two groups. One group of friends asks me that question because they are concerned for me. They think I’ve fallen away from the truth and that I might be sliding down the proverbial “slippery slope” that we’ve all heard about over the years in more fundamental religious circles. The other group of friends is asking me because they are genuinely interested in my journey. For those that fall into the first category, my answers honestly don’t matter to them. When they ask that question, they are really only making a statement about me. “You’ve changed, and I’m worried about your soul.” For those folks, nothing I can say will suffice. But for my friends in the latter category, I LOVE it when they ask me that question, because it always leads to interesting and truth-seeking conversation, whether or not we agree on everything.
In recent years, I’ve gotten passionate about being a truth-seeker in all areas of my life. How noble of me, right? HA. Trust me, being a truth-seeker ain’t for sissies. It had to start with looking at my own life and evaluating how truthful and authentic of a life I was living. Quite honestly, the truth of THAT was painful to admit. Years of being a people-pleaser led to bad habits of being dishonest because I was too afraid of what others might think of me if I told them things they didn’t want to hear. Yeah, I was that girl. The one that lies right to your face rather than admit she might not agree with what you are saying. Learning how to speak up and say what I’m really thinking has been a years-long journey for me. It actually had to start with me understanding my own truth, because honestly… I had lost who I was somewhere along the way. I didn’t really know myself. I had become such a chameleon, making myself into whoever the person I was with needed me to be, that I didn’t even have my own thoughts or beliefs. I would just merge mine into theirs. It has taken me years of working through those issues and learning how to love and believe in myself to stop that bad behavior. I would say it was a combination of me, God, and a couple of very good therapists that got me over all that!
Anyway, that’s enough of my emotional vomiting. 😊 Let’s get back to course correcting. :-)
I want to be wise. Doesn't everyone? Maybe not.... I realized that apparently everyone does NOT want to be wise, because they like having the excuse of ignorance. "I didn't know any better" is a common way to try and excuse bad behavior. Believe me, I've used that many, many times... and I'm not proud of it. But I don't want to use it anymore. I truly want to have wisdom. The kind of wisdom I know comes from God.
I was reading in Proverbs the other day about wisdom:
"Wisdom calls aloud in the street, she raises her voice in the public squares; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out, in the gateways of the city she makes her speech:
'How long will you simple ones love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?'**
First off, I love that wisdom is referred to in the feminine form, “she”. 😉 But that’s a topic for another day. This verse is just so profound. Here it is, written in this ancient book and yet so on point for what I see around me today. People honestly don’t seem to want to get wiser. They would rather hold on to deeply held, but incorrect beliefs, rather than admit that there might be new information they could learn that could possibly change their mind. Change their course.
"Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord, and since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes. For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them"***
OUCH! Kinda sounds like Wisdom is screaming for our attention but not all of us want to listen. We turn away from knowledge and ignore wisdom's advice. If I'm completely honest, I know I have MANY times in my life. I say I want wisdom, but when it comes down to having to make a choice that might be WISE but not in line with MY PLANS, I have often turned away.
The bottom line is that asking for God to grant me true wisdom is a bit scary. Along with wisdom comes knowledge. Along with knowledge comes the awareness of right and wrong, which makes it harder to continue to make the wrong choices and feel okay about it. You know that old saying "Ignorance is bliss"... well, here I am praying for wisdom and now it feels like I'm heaping alot of new responsibility on my head. No more saying "Oh geez.. sorry I did that! I didn't KNOW any better!" Now I'll be left with saying "Sorry I did that. I knew better, but I did it anyway because I'm selfish, or weak, or jealous, or angry or...". You get the picture. It’s a big ol’ piece of humble pie and no one likes the taste of that. But self-discovery is important and wisdom is part of that journey.
Look, we all do it. We all tend to see what we want to see and ignore anything that doesn't line up with our pre-conceived beliefs. We all look for the good in those we love -- so we can justify loving them -- and gloss over the bad. And we all look for the bad in those we hate -- so we can justify hating them -- and refuse to acknowledge the good. We all want to be RIGHT so badly, that we sometimes ignore reality so that we never ever ever have to say those horrible, awful, terrible three words that we hate to say more than anything in the world.
"I WAS WRONG"
Actually, I realized that there is a way to re-frame that saying "I was wrong" which turns it into a GOOD thing. A very, very good thing. Because.....
....maybe it means I actually learned something new.
....maybe it means my thinking has evolved.
....maybe it means I have learned to humble myself enough to realize that I don't know everything, and that there is still a lot I can learn about people, places, emotions, situations etc... I don't have it all figured out and I never will.
So for me, learning, evolving and humbling myself means I truly try to listen when someone presents a differing opinion than mine and then sincerely think about what has been presented to me. I really try to open myself up to the possibility that they might be right and I might be wrong.
Then, one of two things will happen: Either I realize that my way of thinking was wrong, and I now am enlightened to a new truth… which is a good thing. OR, if after mulling over the new information with an open heart (and maybe even doing more research about it), if I still feel good about holding fast to my original beliefs, it just reinforces my opinion and I feel even stronger about my original stance/belief/thought/opinion.
Seems like a win-win to me.
Finding out what people around me think, and why they think that way is always interesting to me. Especially if it’s someone I care about. And I think I have gained the most wisdom in my moments of willingness to listen.
Look, everyone’s thoughts/opinions/beliefs are made up because of their own unique life-experiences. Our journeys have been different, so it only makes sense that we might not think alike. But that doesn’t mean we have to be enemies either. And that is a stance that is happening way too often in our society today - immediately assuming that because we think differently, we are enemies. It has to stop.
So please....don’t be afraid to listen friends.
We learn by listening.
We connect with others by listening.
And I find that most of the time, we are listened to by listening first.
So yeah….. Don't let your ego convince you that admitting that you have been wrong is a bad thing. Don’t let that stop you from pursing wisdom and truth. Next time when you find you have to say, “I was wrong”, ----don’t say it defeatedly.
Try saying it happily, with self-assured intention.
“COOL! I WAS WRONG!”
Because now you know you have learned something new, which should make you happy! Now you have gained wisdom, even if it comes from having to painfully shove our ego aside for a moment. Now you have discovered truth, which helps us make better decisions for our future.
Learning new truths means that we might have to change other things in our lives as well, but I believe it’s worth it. It might cause us to course correct in more ways than one…but I believe that it’s the only way to get on the road towards Lady Wisdom.
So even with all the responsibility that wisdom brings with it, I'm still gonna pray for it. I'm still gonna prod along on my journey towards it. Because I DO believe that life will be better for it. I'm gonna hold fast to the last verse of Proverbs Chapter 1. :
33- 'but whoever listens to me (wisdom) will live in safety and be at ease…”
And man, I do love ease. :-)
Much love, M
*direct quote from: https://www.theminimalists.com/correction/
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Evolving is such a powerful, positive direction. I’m workin’ on it! Thanks for sharing. 💝