Pride can be a terrible thing to overcome. I’ve met people who would seemingly rather drink poison and die than admit they made a mistake. Do you know anyone like that? It can be exhausting to deal with them until you reach the same conclusion I finally reached a few years ago. I don’t have to be right. At least, not publicly.
It’s enough for me to know in my heart that I’ve done my best, followed the law or instructions, walked in integrity, and treated people fairly. I have seen people turn red in the face, pound tables, yell and scream in public meetings, reduce other people to tears, and, all the while, everyone else in the room knew the person was wrong. They power trip and use their power as a weapon against others.
The thing about people like that is you’ll never convince them that they’re wrong. They believe with every fiber of their being that their way is the right way and many of them have the power to make decisions that impact others. The more you try to tell them they’re wrong, the louder and more abrasive they’ll become. There’s no winning with them.
Sometimes you have to know how to cut your losses and when to walk away. It pays to be humble and I’ve learned that through the years and great expense. Once upon a time, I had to have the last word; trust me, it was a very expensive word. Now, I realize that I can let the other person talk ... and talk ... and talk. I simply hold my peace and they’re left believing that I’m agreeing with them and that they remain in control.
I don’t have to agree or abdicate my position; I also don’t have to protest to no avail and cause my blood pressure to rise. I can say I’m sorry if I’ve offended them with my position and that I hear what they’re saying. These are both true statements,(people in the next state can probably hear them, by the way), and I let them finish as they please.
The more you argue with a fool, the more foolish you begin to look. My husband always says, “Never wrestle with a pig. You’ll get dirty and the pig likes it.” You may have an unruly boss and need to keep your job, or you may want to salvage a friendship with someone who happens to be a hothead. I just want to maintain my peace regardless of whose pride and attitude becomes an issue for me.
Learn not to take the bait. Practice the pause before giving any response and ask yourself how much having to be right may cost you. Sometimes silence is priceless.