I've been thinking lately about the dreaded subject of why we women feel the need to be right.

Yes, I know that some women feel that our being often, very frequently right is more of a gift than a need, but I see myself giving in to this belief and wonder why? Because just when I think I'm completely right, justified, and in all ways covered, I completely misjudge an entire situation, person or outfit.

This brings to mind my experience with Edna. Years ago, one stressful visit to Wal-Mart found me with several small children and two carts stuffed full of my then-yearly shopping event. Though I'd kept my baby entertained with small trinkets throughout, we were all on our last nerve.

After purchasing, and upon exiting with our carts, there came an annoying beep signaling something amiss with my items. Edna the Wal-Mart uber-checker came over and asked me for my list and began slowly checking EVERY single item. My baby began howling; the kids were done, and I had had it.

I turned to her and said in an exceedingly crisp tone, "There isn't anything stolen in these carts. I DON'T STEAL. Can we please go?"

Sweet, mollified Edna let me pass.

As I loaded the children in the car I felt a small feeling of triumph that I had been right to be assertive about my honesty. That was until I got home, removed my daughter from her car seat, and found one of the said trinkets hidden and therefore unpaid. I had STOLEN. The end of the story is bittersweet — I did pay for the contraband but could not find Edna to make my miserable and prostrate apology.

The point is that sometimes we women focus on the point of being right rather than, well, the point. Many times, in fact a good many times, we may be wrong, and when we're not, there are a thousand other "rights" to make something work. Sometimes we need to just sit back, stop furrowing our brows and realize that we don't have to be the last word in what happens in everyone's lives.

A perfect recent example is our Fourth of July celebration. Each year I plan about three weeks in advance, and on the Fourth of July I can't wait to get up and get going. This is even though we don't usually leave until late afternoon, and this year we only had our own family involved.

Conversely, my sweet husband delights in having one day to sleep in, without a mile-long list of things to do. However, this year of not needing to be "right," I planned ahead for this difference in schedule opinions. While he rested, I satiated my over-achieving needs by painting a landscape and reading some Nancy Drew.

Later, when we headed to the picnic site, he suggested we set up the mini pavillion for shade. Efficiency me said that would take too much time for the little bit of sun that would hit us. However, aware of the need for no rightness, I said that fateful phrase that husbands all over the world rejoice to hear: "Whatever you think, dear."

And I meant it. He then put up the pavilion in about five minutes, just in time to provide fabulous shade from the suddenly noncloud-covered sun. He was right. And in an amazing marital moment, I actually said to him, "You were right, honey, thanks." Fabulously, I didn't fall faint, the Earth continued to orbit, and time marched on.

Just for fun, I encourage you to not try to be right all of the time. In fact, I invite you to use phrases with your husband, children and co-workers like, "Is that right?" "Hmm, that could be" and my personal favorite, "That's a great idea," even if I had that same idea for the past 15 years and shared it with that person every single day of my life.

This week, just when you think you've got them cornered, know the score or have it in the bag, pause. Consider someone else's opinion, entertain your husband's crazy solution, allow your children to feel they have trumped you in all knowledge of the world. It is just as powerful a feeling to know you were almost right, could have been right, and to eat your humble pie in peace.


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