The Daily Stoic for April 7th. “Expect To Change Your Opinions”:
“There are two things that must be rooted out in human beings—arrogant opinion and mistrust. Arrogant opinion expects that there is nothing further needed, and mistrust assumes that under the torrent of circumstance there can be no happiness.”
—EPICTETUS, DISCOURSES, 3.14.8
Curiously enough, before reading today’s stoic meditation, I had put it into action. Today was not a specially good day. It was one of these days when you have an argument with your partner.
Traditionally, in those situations, I am the one that gives in and swallow my pride. Not because I am a better person or anything. Nothing further from the truth.
It’s just because I’m more practical. I really love this person, and I want to enjoy every minute we spend together. Maybe that’s even selfish, but being angry or at odds is not going to make us happier… And life is hard enough to be upset for too long.
Expect To Change Your Opinions
However, I’ve always thought of it as a sign of “weakness”. I felt like I should stick to my opinion and stand firm.
I’ve come to realize that being able to put yourself in the shoes of others, and understand their points of view -even if you can’t agree with them- is not a sign of weakness at all. On the contrary, it requires a lot of willpower and self-confidence.
There’s a wonderfully simple question in today’s stoic we should ask ourselves in these kind of situations:
Could I be wrong here?
Even if you positively think you are right, admitting the possibility of being wrong is important. It makes you consider that maybe the other person feels as frustrated, infuriated or angry as yourself.
Then, these three words: “I am sorry”, don’t look so out of place, or make you feel weak or wrong. Maybe being wrong or right is not even that relevant after all, specially when compared to how you want to spend the rest of the day with that person.
Today’s Daily Stoic, “Expect To Change Your Opinions”, came at the right moment. Having a discussion when I typically feel “weak” by giving in and saying “I’m sorry”, I discovered that being right or wrong is not that important after all.
And being the one that gives in and apologizes is not a sign of weakness, but requires you to be strong and self-confident. I think it’s actually a very positive quality.