Confession. I like to be right. Most of us do. But I’ve learned the hard way that being right is limiting. My motives for being right are often founded in my good intention of helping others be right too.  But my focus on right sometimes ends up creating lines of division instead of avenues of learning.

Right vs Wrong.

Exclusive vs Inclusive.

These seem like opposites.

What if we changed our focus to Right vs Inclusive? And what if they weren’t opposites but simply different ends of the same spectrum?

You have your own beliefs and values. Things you stand for no matter what. They guide your decisions and actions.

But they can also create unintentional boundaries. You can become so entrenched in your own opinions that you start to exclude others. You ignore or discount their experiences of the world.

Instead of seeing the opportunity to understand how someone else perceives life, you might gear up to fight because you feel the need to defend your point of view. And this is the point where being right begins to limit and constrict you.

As humans, we need each other. We need a diversity of skills and talents and points of view. And to create this community, we need to lean into inclusivity. That doesn’t mean you have to forgo your own beliefs, but you need to make room for other ideas to exist.

Entrenching in what you believe is “right” leaves no room for other possibilities. And perhaps leaning into “right” makes you feel safe….but it can also make you feel alone.

Because eventually, those people with other views are not going to embrace the way you see the world, they will simply find a different community that is willing to include them.

How do you step into inclusivity when another person has values, ideas, or beliefs that differ from yours? The answer is simple but the work of inclusivity is hard.

It begins with curiosity and a willingness to listen. Even when the other person says things that don’t align with your views. Listen. Get curious. Find out what has shaped their views. Most people form views out of past experiences. Once you understand the journey they’ve had in life, it’s easier to understand why they believe what they believe.

Once you understand the why behind the beliefs of another, it’s easier to accept the other person. That doesn’t mean you have to hold the same view. You simply appreciate the events that led them to where they are in life. You can meet them where they are.

This exercise may benefit you as well. Why do you hold the beliefs and values you do? What life events led you to these ideals? Examining them may help you reinforce your position or you may discover that your view of the world has changed and it’s time to expand your considerations.

Above all, know the impact being right has on your life. Where are you limiting your community? How might being right be hurting you in the end?