Why Did I Always Need to Be Right? (i.e. How to Lose a Friend in 10 Seconds)

NOT into reading? LISTEN to the audio version instead! (Or listen to me narrate along as you read the text. Best of both worlds? #AudioBlog)

It’s Saturday, August 22. For five months, I have been socially distant – at least as far as proximity to strangers is concerned.

But. Today is different. Today – my hair is overdue for a much-needed color.

And today – I am in a state other than California. Which means…freedom!

(At least in terms of being able to get my hair colored inside a proper salon while wearing a mask. I still love California.)

As I’m sitting in a salon chair, reading a spiritual guidance book that was recommended by Oprah (she’s very wise), the song “You’re So Vain” starts playing.

I immediately think of Kate Hudson singing the song in the movie “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” – I will never not associate the song with that film (see clip below for reference.)

Anyway.  As I’m sitting there thinking about that moment, the person getting their hair done next to me says:

“This song always reminds me of ‘How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days’ – it’s like my favorite movie!”

Did I just manifest this?! Or does everyone just feel the way I feel? I guess that doesn’t matter. I just continue eavesdropping on this stranger (an enjoyable pastime that has also been restricted in recent months because of COVID.)

This salon client and potential new friend of mine tells her stylist about the premise of the film; she goes on to say that it stars Julianne Hough and Matthew McConaughey, and its about a journalist doing a piece on….

And all I can think is…Julianne Hough? What? The Dancing With the Stars girl? I don’t remember that. I keep listening, hoping she’ll mention Kate Hudson (someone I love and am a huge fan of, probably because she’s also an Aries.)

But…the salon client never mentions Kate.

And that’s when I can feel the internal conflict arise:

Do I say something? Do I correct her? Do I tell her she’s….wrong?

There was a struggle between Know-It-All SK, someone I’ve been for most of my life, and Zen SK — the person I’ve become after 2.5 months of reflection (though If I were more self-actualized and super ‘Zen’, this conflict wouldn’t have even existed, huh? Oh well. Baby steps.)

samia khan arizona

A recent candid of ‘Zen SK’ being….Zen SK.

Interestingly enough, the book I was reading at the salon focuses on topics like ego and your soul vs. “lower self” personality (you know, all that terminology that feels insightful yet way too esoteric for normal humans to fully relate to, but stuff Oprah loves.)

The chapter that I had been reading (when this “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” conversation started) described how ‘lower self’ personality dictates one’s actions, actions your ‘higher self’ would never do because they’re such an ego-driven thing.

Was Life giving me a firsthand lesson in this specific area, with a seemingly inconsequential, low-stakes situation?

Semi-Zen SK (yep, I just modified my nickname for accuracy) knew the answer without even needing an extended Inner Voice conversation. One line would do:

INNER VOICE: Don’t be Know-It-All SK. It doesn’t accomplish anything.

This conflict was already solved, no lengthy Inner Voice dialogue required.

And that’s when I started thinking about well – when does it matter? When should you be correcting people?

And before I spent too much time on the ‘should’ I stopped thinking about it, because that felt too subjective and had nothing to do with self-exploration.

I then shifted to reflect on young SK – Know-it-All SK, who knew all the answers, and liked letting her knowledge be known when she had correct information. The truth of a situation was very important to her.

But…why did young SK feel the need to correct someone or announce what was right?

Why was ‘being right’ so important?

INNER VOICE: Your actions usually have to do with you.

SK: So you’re saying it’s not even about correcting someone or helping them?

INNER VOICE: It’s ego-driven, not altruistic. Even suggesting that it is a helpful act, something altruistic, is ego-driven.

SK: I see.

INNER VOICE: What does being right mean?

SK: It means that I have the correct information.

INNER VOICE: Which means…

SK: That I’m smart.

INNER VOICE: So when you hear someone say something incorrectly, you revealing the truth – to show that you are ‘right’ – is an attempt to showcase your intelligence.

SK: To validate the identity I attach to being smart?

INNER VOICE: Which is what you’ve derived your self-worth from ever since you were a young child knowing everything in class.

SK: Sure. Yeah. Being right means being smart.

INNER VOICE: And indirectly making someone else feel ‘wrong’ or ‘dumb’ in an interpersonal, non-classroom situation.

SK: Well, I mean, that wasn’t my goal.

INNER VOICE: Right, but all actions have unintended consequences and effects on others – do you ever think about that?

SK: [*pause*] Um…

And Inner Voice taught me something once again. Sigh. I began reflecting on all the times, in friendships, at work, and in other situations, where I prioritized ‘being right’ or ‘winning the argument’ over the emotional needs of the situation. (Flashbacks of an ex irritated with my desire to be right also appeared. And…now I hate that he was right about how detrimental my need to be right was. Ha.)

Wait. Did this “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” salon situation just teach me how to avoid losing a guy (or a new salon friend) in 10 seconds?

LESSON

Even your seemingly helpful actions, can at the core, be ego-driven and have unintended negative consequences.

Before saying something, or ‘correcting’ someone, ask yourself: is what I’m going to say actually going to help them or hurt them? Or perhaps more importantly, ask yourself:  is what I’m going to say just something I’m saying to reinforce some aspect of my identity that needs validation?

Basically — is it worth it?

Because truthfully, as the 4 Agreements (another Oprah-recommended book) says, nothing anyone does is because of you. And with that idea in mind, you also then must realize…nothing YOU do is because of someone else (even if your conscious self THINKS that it is for the greater good of the other person.)

We’re all doing things that are self-motivated; even things that are seemingly selfless are related to some aspect of your identity. Your ego.

And yes, not going to lie, I do think it’s funny that I reached this conclusion after hearing a song called “You’re So Vain”; a song about ego is what led me to this epiphany about one of my own ego-driven habits.

Recommended Listening: Kelly Clarkson Mr. Know It All

So what, you’ve got the world at your feet
And you know everything about everything
But you don’t

(Nope, wasn’t gonna pick “You’re so Vain” – that’s just too obvious, you know? I don’t want to be that predictable. Ha. Enjoy. I’ll see you guys next week — 💜SK)

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ICYMI…PREVIOUS BLOG POST: Passion Meets Purpose: Working for Bernie Sanders Inspired Me to ‘Bernie’ My Creativity

START THE JOURNEY FROM BLOG #1: Am I Too Scared To Start Things?

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