Wrong vs. Different

6 Oct

Recently I’ve begun to ponder this point on a fairly regular basis. It’s something I’m guessing that everyone has done at least once and in my case, many times. That is, have a discussion with someone because their opinion or thoughts are not the same as yours. Even after initial arguments have been presented, we continue to push our point of view while the person we’re speaking with does the same. So what happens when you reach that inevitable point of no return and realize neither is going to budge?

Well, I’ve begun asking myself this: Is what the other person saying actually ‘wrong’ or is it just ‘different’ from my point of view? In my mind, there is only one true way to discern if something is actually ‘wrong’ – and that is by facts only. Logic is not enough unfortunately, as logic often varies greatly from person to person. For me, it has to be facts. Otherwise, it’s just different.

Now, the different part for me is the struggle. Once I’ve determined that the other persons thoughts are simply different than mine, it becomes a question of energy and value. How much energy is this discussion worth and how important is the outcome to me?

Here’s an example: After a few blissful months of living with my boyfriend-turned-fiancee, I’ve noticed a few things he does that irk me. In particular, how he loads the dishwasher. Every time I empty it, I shake my head at what I perceive to be a waste of space (and thus water/energy etc.) as he lays the bowls face down in the top rack. You can fit so many more cups/bowls etc. on that rack if you lay them sideways. BUT, I have never actually said anything to him about this because I took the time to determine that his way is not wrong, it’s just different. I can see that in his mind, if you lay them face down, they’ll get more water and the inside of the bowls will be cleaner. Because I took the time to weigh this and actually consider his point of view, I was then able to also address how important it was to me to say something and potentially start a silly argument to which there was no ‘right’ way.

I’ve realized I need to make more of an effort to do this everyday. I (and many people I know) spend far too much valuable energy discussing things that really have no right or wrong answer. Everyone has a different point of view, different thoughts and feelings that inform it and different ways of expressing it. It’s going to take a lot of practice I think, but eventually, I’m hoping I can get in the habit of slowing my reaction.

Now, if only I could get him to fold the pizza boxes in the recycling bin 😉


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