I find two ways that I want to be right.
First, wanting my initial belief about something to be right. When I take a story as true, I identify with it and its perspective, and since it becomes an “I” I feel fuel other stories that prop it up, flesh it out, defend it, and make it look right to myself and sometimes others.
Then, wanting to find what is more true for me than the initial belief. What is the grain of truth in its reversals? What happens if I see all of those stories as just stories, with a limited practical value only?
So for instance, when I received the email from the Bernadette Roberts student, and he seemed to assign views to me that didn’t fit my familiar identity, the first impulse was to make me right and he wrong. I don’t have those views, and I’ll prove it to him.
But the signs of being caught up in beliefs are hard to notice (tension, wanting to protect and defend a position or identity), so it quickly shifted into wanting to find what is more true for me. How is he right? Can I find it, in a genuine way, right here?
What is the belief I got caught up in? (“He shouldn’t assign views to me I don’t have.”) What happens when I hold onto that belief? Who am I without it? What are the genuine truths in its reversals?
Now, having found – to some extent – what is more true for me around it, there is a release of that tension. There is less need to have to protect or defend a position or identity. I can find the truth in what he is saying, and also expand it so the fuller picture is more true for me than either of our initial positions. (As I tell myself those positions were.)
And this again can – of course – become another position. Another story and identity that I want to make right, that I use to make me right and someone/thing else wrong. The signs of attaching to a story as true. The wanting to find what is more true for me than the initial story. And so on.