There is a great deal of shock that accompanies the serious prospect of being wrong about what you believe in.

It’s sobering, perhaps in the same you might suddenly realize you’ve committed a mortifying social faux pas.

If the magnitude of this realization is large enough, it might compel you to question the entirety of your belief system. It places your sense of judgment and rational thought on the chopping block, and it urges you to wonder if there is any part of you worth salvaging.

Nobody likes to be wrong. Nobody enjoys the process of seeking out your own hardened opinions that may in fact be completely invalid. Because having invalid opinions might suggest that the thinker behind those opinions is also invalid.

And if that is the case… then what does that mean for everything else the thinker has thought up?

Being wrong is an assault on not only one strongly held belief but that which has given rise to entire sets of beliefs, and the individual who has perpetuated their existence for so long.

Being wrong about what you believe undermines everything you think you know about yourself. And it presents the possibility that not only are you wrong now, but you’ve been wrong this whole time.

The struggle to reconcile with the possibility that you are in fact wrong might be so daunting that you naturally look for any evidence that might justify your line of thinking.

And so the prospect of being wrong sparks a burning desire to be right (or maybe better understood as “objectively correct”) rather than aligned with what is true.

The only way to overcome this loss of personal dignity is perhaps to ignore dignity altogether.

Because while dignity may be a useful guide for individual morality, it is egotistically unhelpful when it comes to benefitting society.

Swallowing my pride is not so much painful as it is taxing on the mind. But I believe I have been wrong about social injustices in this world. Or at the very least, I have not been as empathetic as I could have been.

In taking one side against another, I have forgotten that it is not always the case that two seemingly opposing forces are arguing over one matter from the same perspective.

I’ve forgotten that, even as individuals, the point of conflict does not look the same for any two persons. Just because some people are “pro life” and others are “pro choice” does not mean they are concerned about the same aspects of the debate on abortion rights. Members from both sides might even agree on certain points of discussion. It is only in the precise values that each sides prioritizes where debate emerges.

It’s embarrassing because it makes you feel silly.

You become disgusted with yourself to a certain extent. Because how could you not have come to this understanding for such an extended period of time. How could you not see the logic that has been staring you in the face since you developed your hardened belief?

But comfort is found in letting go of whether you were right or wrong in the past.

Define your character not by what you have done in the past but by what you choose to do going forward.

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