Right and Wrong—Don’t touch the stove!

Most of us were brought up with a strong sense of right and wrong.

It goes beyond personal safety; it dives into the beliefs our parents held, which were influenced by their families and society.

Right and wrong were also taught to us in school. We learned to raise our hand to speak, not chew gum in class, turn in our homework on time and so on.

Right and wrong thought was taught as a generalization; many clichés have been used for generations, which were based on societal norms.

Often, as a child, we did not understand the thought process behind the limiting statements.

Instead, we either rebelled or succumbed to their rules.

Many rules were used to monitor and limit behavior, some are important and meant to keep society as a whole in check. The Ten Commandments; whether you see it as part of religious literature or you see the basic tenets of how to get along with others in your life emblazoned into this stone; the point is man has always been trying to figure out the rules.

How about the rules of self-governance or relationships?

Rules at Work?

And short of killing someone or causing harm to another with purpose, does right or wrong really matter?

I’m talking the sense of right and wrong we give in judgment of ourselves and others.

Many of us carry guilt, obligation or shame, especially when we feel a good amount of our decisions, words and actions are wrong.

And when we have someone in our environment reminding us of how wrong we are, it becomes an even bigger struggle.

What can be done about the internal and external battle of right vs. wrong?

When it comes to everything under the Sun, short of violence or harm, right and wrong are subjective.

The internal battle of right vs. wrong, has much to do with your upbringing.

Were you often in trouble? Were you constantly reminded you were bad or wrong? How your opinion or reason didn’t matter and you needed to keep quiet, because what you said would be used against you?

Therefore you felt a sense of shame that you were just bad, unworthy or wrong?


That’s the edge of the cliff you live on whenever unrest, arguments, blame, or any form of mental arm-wrestling shows up in your life.

You become that kid again.

And you try to protect yourself by shutting down or “out-arguing,” your opponent.

Maybe you’ve tried different tactics like agreeing to take all the responsibility or stonewalling the other person.

Any tactic short of honesty will never make YOU feel better.

Maybe you don’t know why you become engaged in battle.

Your childhood is an important marker of how you act or react in confrontation or in trying to make your point.

Is there a constant critic in your head telling you that you did right or wrong, good or bad?

Sometimes it’s loud.

The voice can provoke us to start inane arguments or focus on characteristics of others, which we feel are bad or make us feel bad. Comparison, anger, bad treatment or believing the other person is better or worse than us—forces our hand.

Even if you win the argument, the internal battle continues. The sense of shame, second-guessing and feeling bad starts to sink in as soon as self-righteousness leaves the building.

And for those who have to prove they are right at all costs, your very sense of self, identity and confidence rests on the shoulders of claiming your prize in a total K.O.

For those who base everything on their sense of feeling right, ending up “wrong,” can shatter the very sense of self they hold as valuable…they feel they may never recover.

The battle is never won, because you feel like crap inside.  You may argue about meaningless things, but you need that win to re-establish some feeling inside of you that means you are “okay.”

Except it doesn’t last, so what? You won and someone lost….until the next time and there will be a next time, because no one likes to lose either.

And here’s the rub.

No one is right or wrong.

Nope. I’m not talking about driving down the wrong side of the street. I’m talking about trying to feel good or get your sense of self-esteem from other people at their expense.

Who cares what you think is right and they think is right.

There’s probably validity to the points being discussed, but can’t we just focus on that, instead of “I’m right; you’re wrong?”

Can’t we take our misled ego, bruised confidence and self image right out of the equation?

Can we recognize what is missing and say to ourselves, “You are okay, just as you are…flawed….screwed up…lovable…goofy…smart, etc…” instead of pointing the finger and deriving our mood, decisions and emotional contentment from being right?

If you believe strongly in something with conviction and are about to engage in an argument with someone who is as convicted as you, wouldn’t it make sense to focus on what is really being said, rather than, which side is right?

I know when people start “agreeing to disagree,” and can “hear” what the other person really needs (whether it is a sense of validity, to be listened to or loved) and answer the “need” rather than making it into WWIII, everyone feels better. No one feels disconnected and it can be healing for all.

Open your mind and heart first to yourself; be aware of that inner dialogue.

When it flares up, look at those parts of yourself that you’re making wrong. Are you really wrong?

When you’re so sure you’re right and no one can argue with you, ask why is it so important that you make this statement out loud?

What is it you really need?

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