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Many of us disagree with the other over many matters. It does not take too long to form an opinion on where we stand. Quite often, once we have decided on our stand on the matter, we cannot wait for the other person to stop talking so that we may interject with our opinion. Many times, when the discussion at hand is not fact based but rather based on judgement, we find ourselves at opposite sides of the discussion. And the urge to declare our opinion superior is irresistible with a “You know what – I am right!” to finish with.
Social media has magnified the effect several times. Just recently I was witness to one person posting a comment. What followed was a vehement objection echoing the thought “You know what – I am right!” (and not quite as polite as this!). Some of his buddies next jumped into the fray and the thought now moved to “He is right!” and very quickly morphed into “We are right!”. The speed at which this happens on social media can be overwhelming and also concerning.
Wisdom tells us that we need to create space between a thought and our response – we need to respond with maturity rather than react recklessly. Mindfulness practice can be invaluable in this. The practice of consciously examining our thoughts and choosing our response in terms of fairness and best intent for both parties is something when cultivated is invaluable.
I have personally felt that all major disagreements, relationship breakups and even conflicts all start with one person not adequately examining this one thought - “You know what. I am right!”. This person either acts alone or the thought travels (again un-examined) forward to others and morphs into more dangerous forms.
Achieving true balance in how we respond can take time – weeks, months or even years. We are after all, attempting to unlearn a bad habit formed since very long. The great Indian sage Ramana Maharishi had advocated a practice of rigorous self enquiry in understanding our true self. We can apply a similar technique by examining this one thought “You know what, I am right!”. If applied intensely it can traverse further thoughts and the underlying basis for why we feel this way. It is then a conscious choice on how we wish to respond.