The Need to Be Right

Although less intense than it was in the past, I find that I often want or (more accurately) NEED to be right. Those moments have body markers like a flushed face, discomfort in my gut and an elevated pulse. What I have come to understand (based on these body markers) is that this is more a protective need for *certainty* than wanting to be “in the right” and “correct”. And I don’t think that this is unique to me.
So many of us find ourselves locked into debates and conflict not primarily because of our rational brain’s desire for “objective truth” but because of our lower brain’s craving for certainty – solid ground to walk on. The rational brain is merely a hijacked servant in those moments.
The way to tell the difference between a rational debate and a triggered nervous system that demands absolute certainty of beliefs and perspectives is the emotional intensity at which the discussion takes place and how “personal” it becomes.
If it is intense and personal, please know that this is not about the “truth value” of a particular idea, but a very deep PHYSIOLOGICAL need, the need to deal with the threat of uncertainty and the unknown. Our body (read- nervous system) is automatically REACTING to that stimulus as it would to a real physical threat to one’s survival (it does not take the time to distinguish).
I think this is helpful to know and monitor as we interact with fellow humans, especially those that don’t see the world through our eyes.
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