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The importance of doubting myself

I'm starting to really appreciate and even enjoy being wrong.

Now, let's not kid—I also love being right. And of course, there's plenty of life that doesn't lend itself to either category, though not nearly as much as some seem to think. (Sidebar: Lots of talk with jargon like "the gray," "tension," and "leaning into" things may seem more sophisticated somehow, but the thoughts behind those words are often at least as judgmental and snarky as simply admitting when we think some things are right and other things are wrong. When used this way, such talk is dishonest and full of shit—we just want a flavor of judgmentalism different from our parents, who we are usually, sometimes correctly, critiquing, and we don't want to feel guilty about it. I say all of this as an offender trying to reform.)

But being wrong is liberating in so many ways. Life has a great many blanks we have to fill in with our imaginations, and I'm well-versed at filling them in with variations on the worst-case scenario. This is a handy skill—I can prepare for a wide range of possibilities and help others do the same. It can keep me from being crushed by disappointment, because my assessments usually have a lot of brokenness built in. I'm learning, however, that one of the best things I can do after (or while) sizing something up is to call my own brokenness into question.

My vision has significant blind spots when I don't do this. The way I read a situation is riddled with my own biases and insecurities; even when my reasoning is sound, there are other possibilities I can sideline or miss entirely. Having others who can "check" me is a huge help. Further, developing my internal ability to question myself is a good discipline. I've recently been in a few situations where I questioned my initial assessments thoroughly enough to keep myself from making molehills into mountains, as well as avoiding the damage and mess my misreads might have caused.

Being wrong is also a relief because it tempers my constant desire to be right. Seeing how there can sometimes be greater good when I'm wrong helps me get over myself a bit. It's a dose of remedial theology: there's a God in the universe, and I'm not Him. That leaves the everyday possibility (and often, necessity) of open questions—while I still need to make decisions in order to navigate through life, I can hold onto my own perspective with a much looser grip (a more honest way of experiencing and dealing with "tension" than constantly critiquing others).

The fabric of the universe doesn't unravel when I'm wrong. In Christ creation holds together. He is the Word that trumps my dim and narrow view. He is truth. The pressure's off. Thank God.


I find that I have to learn where the grey areas are because I am much more likely to think in terms of wrong and right. Much to my consternation, there are a lot more things that are simply a matter of my opinion than I thought. I don't love being wrong, but given just how many different ways there are of thinking, it's inevitable that someone else is occasionally going to be right, and I'm going to be wrong. :)
Maybe every once in a while. ;)

One of the weird and good things about having more peace with being wrong (and I'm not going to put this into words well) is that it's giving me more space to let people in to my life—I'm not always waiting until I think I have everything figured out before I share. I'm also being more selective about when, how, and with whom I share things, because another person just running off at the mouth isn't anything the world really needs.
I went back and read your tagged stuff on theology today. You're one of the few people I like to talk about stuff with (much of that is my own problem). But posts like these are very important for me to read, you're used in really important ways spiritually in my life. You have a way of saying very important things but in a way that eliminates unecessary offensiveness. I love it, and you.

Aw, thank you. My tagging skills are pretty random and limited, so I can't vouch for what's in there—I'm glad it was worthwhile.
Yes, I'm getting to the point where I can now see when I'm over-reacting to something. It doesn't stop the emotional maelstrom but it does help me contain it so it doesn't affect others.

It's quite terrifying how past events shape us so that certain triggers have such power over us so as to distort our judgment completely. Some things that other think quite small can upset me for weeks.
Absolutely—there are some of those triggers that I'm just now learning to deal with better (and probably many more I haven't).