Have you ever been so right, that you were wrong? Where you’ve been in a situation in which you’ve done all the right things, yet somehow, someway the end result left you feeling rotten inside? In this post we are going to address the moments in life where we do things that we believe are in our right or we believe are righteous, and yet in the end we realize that all our righteousness has led to a wrongdoing.
I had an experience lately where a fellow co-worker of mine did something against me. We embarked on a difficult project together, and in the end, he did not fulfill his side of the work and neglected both his duties and commitment to the project. So, of course, I let him have it. I told him how unprofessional he was, and then made a list of things he failed to do and promises he failed to fulfill. I condemned him for his incompetence and his inadequacies and then cut him both at work and outside of work. During all of this, I felt that I was in the right, and that my actions were justified. But after the rage subsided, and I was left alone in my thoughts, I realized that I had hurt him with my words. Of course, he pretended that what I said didn’t affect him during the time, but I knew that it did.
After thoughtfully going over my experiences with him, I realized that he did what he did because he acted out of the mind… out of his ego. He took some actions that pleased his ego and given his age–he was 10 years my junior–I can see why he did. That’s what you do when you’re young and inexperienced. You act irrationally and egotistically, thinking you know it all or know what’s best when you don’t. And even though I was in the right with what I did, how I reacted was not right. I should have been more compassionate and forgiving. In the end, my righteousness did not get me anywhere. Now I lost a potential friend, and I am alone in my righteousness. And this isn’t the first time that this has happened. I have had plenty of experiences where I was right and friends and family where wrong, and in the end I would lose them. What is the reward for being right in your mind? How much satisfaction can be gained from being right, if in the end you find yourself alone?
I’ve seen many families broken because parents believe they are right, and their kids wrong or vice versa. In the end, there is only heartbreak and solitude. What good is it to be right and alone? Sometimes our attachment to winning arguments or being above others makes it so hard to be around. What use is it to be right in the rational, worldly way… but wrong in the emotional, spiritual way? Being right in a situation or experience doesn’t make you a better person. Being right in God’s eyes is what makes you a better person… a better soul. So the next time you are in an argument, or find yourself fighting in a relationship because you feel it’s your “right,” ask yourself if the end results will leave you permanently happy or temporarily happy and permanently miserable. Let the other side win for once, and let go your attachment to what you believe is “righteousness.” Practice applying the gifts of the Spirit… virtues such as love, patience, forgiveness, humility, compassion, and understanding.
And above all remember the sacred teaching that all of life is a reflection of what you carry inside you. If you see ego, then know you have ego inside you. If you see hate or ignorance, know that you have hate or ignorance inside you. As Benjamin Franklin so adequately put it, “Love your enemies, for they will reveal your faults.” This is a hard teaching to accept, but it is the truth. You cannot see what you are not, but only what you are. If you see love around you, it is because you are loving. If you see hate around you, it is because you are hateful. The people around you are instruments to reveal that which you carry inside you. If you see someone that is not loving, you must ask yourself… how are you not loving? If you see someone who is a law breaker, how are you a law breaker in the eyes of God? If you see someone as incompetent, how are you incompetent in the eyes of God? Many times you’ll be surprised by the answer.
Reflect deeply on this teaching my friends, and see the enemies around you for what they truly are.