No one likes a person who has to be right all the time. This type of person is no fun to be around and can be stressful at times. Whether this person is a co-worker or a friend, he or she can dampen the mood and even turn yourself into someone similar to them. When we interact with someone whose ego is present in the conversation, our natural reaction is to get defensive and guard our own ego. We do that by turning into the exact thing that we are protecting ourselves against. I’ve fallen into this trap one too many times. An interaction with someone egotistical brings the ego out in myself too. I don’t like the person I am when this happens. Therefore, I hate interacting with people like this.
It’s important to recognize when you feel this ego coming on. We don’t always have control over who we interact with, but we do have control over ourselves. This process takes a lot of practice. But after enough practice and self-awareness, we can spot when our ego starts to boil within us. When this happens, our mindset shies away from doing what is best, to wanting to be right. A lot of times it’s not even about being right. Sometimes it becomes about the other person being wrong. This is a dangerous frame of mind to be in. Under this ego spell, you are no longer care about doing what’s right or being right. You simply want to prove the other person wrong.
Feeling this ego is the first step of preventing it from really coming out. An important thing to note is that you don’t have to be right. It’s not that important. When you have the urge to be right, you put yourself into a competition and there is a win/lose. This doesn’t matter in most interactions, especially when it comes to friendships. If you and a friend disagree, simply acknowledge that you disagree and move on. It’s a simple as that. If that friend doesn’t accept that outcome then should they really be considered a friend?
I’ve felt this ego come into play far too many times. I’ve gotten much better at recognizing the early stages of this ego mindset, but ego can be very sneaky sometimes. It can be disguised as something else and can easily be rationalized. This effects all of us. Which is why all of us could benefit from this awareness. Knowing that it’s not about you, it’s about what’s best. Sometimes it’s difficult to distinguish between the two.
One of my mentors in college mentioned to me something that I thought about for a while. One day after we played racquetball, somehow the topic of ego came up. And he said, “If you are trying to win every point, eventually the point will be over. If you simply just try to keep the volley going, then the volley can go on as long as you’d like.” He meant that there are times for ego and there is time for no ego. Sports or competitions, yes you want to win and be right. However, with relationships that you cherish, being right will only bring the relationship to an end. Instead, try and keep the relationship going. This happens when no one is trying to win the point or be right. This happens when you just volley for fun.
Ego is a dangerous game. It’s important to recognize the early stages of ego and stop it before it grows into something more hurtful to you and for others. It has no place in relationships and can only hurt them. So the next time you have the urge to be right or prove a point, try taking a step back and ask yourself if that is what is for the best. If not, then drop it. Being right isn’t important. Lasting relationships are.