14 Reasons You Need To Be Right All The Time + 6 Steps To Let Go

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The need to be right is an unhealthy perspective that can wreak havoc on your personal and professional life.

No one will want to deal with you if you always think you are right.

If you can’t take responsibility for your own shortcomings and own your failures, you will create a lot of extra work for the people around you.

And this behavior needn’t be limited to the large things either.

If you have a hard time admitting you are wrong about small things—like an answer to a question or an erroneous claim you made—you can wind up sucked into an unnecessary argument that really doesn’t matter.

This begs the question…

Why do I feel the need to always be right?

Speak to an accredited and experienced therapist to help you overcome your need to be right all the time. You may want to try speaking to one via BetterHelp.com for quality care at its most convenient.

The need to always be right can be rooted in several different things. Here are some of the most common.

1. You feel insecure in yourself.

Are you concerned with how others will perceive you if you are wrong or if you admit to having flaws?

Would you feel that you are not meeting the expectations of others if you aren’t always perfect?

That type of insecurity is often ingrained in a person as a child through dysfunctional or abusive family dynamics.

Your need to be right may be a defense mechanism that helped you survive whatever it is you experienced.

2. You’re terrified of failure.

The consequences of being wrong amount to failure in your mind and so you are willing to do or say anything that refutes your error or wrongdoing.

You cannot admit to being wrong because you think other people will see you as less than, unworthy of respect, a waste of space. You will do anything to avoid the criticism or judgment of others.

This is another consequence of insecurity, although it can also be related to mental health conditions, personality disorders, or neurodivergence.

3. You have an inflated ego.

If you have high self-esteem and are very confident in yourself and your knowledge, you may insist on being right even when there is evidence to prove otherwise.

You overestimate your expertise and abilities—perhaps based on previous successes or accomplishments—and you struggle to accept the possibility that you could be wrong about something you feel you have a strong grasp of.

4. You have a fragile ego.

You may feel so unsure of yourself and your abilities that you feel a constant need to prove yourself to others.

You may insist that you are right about something because you feel less intelligent or less well educated than others.

And you struggle to back down once you have made your position clear because doing so would be a hammer blow to your ego and self-worth.

5. You are highly intelligent but lack social intelligence.

You may exhibit intellectual elitism and enjoy demonstrating how superior your knowledge is by pointing out when others are wrong.

You may not “need” to be right all the time for any good reason other than because you often are (in a factual sense).

You simply don’t have the social awareness to realize that correcting people is extremely irritating and often unnecessary.

Or, you see yourself as better than others and enjoy demonstrating your superior grasp of facts and information.

6. You have strong cognitive biases.

Cognitive biases affect how a person perceives information and makes decisions—and everyone experiences them.

Confirmation bias is a particularly common and relevant bias here. It means you favor information that confirms your existing beliefs while ignoring or refuting other information.

If you are prone to this sort of thinking, you will find it difficult to consider alternative perspectives which means you’ll believe you are correct and that others are misinformed.

7. You like to feel in control.

Do you equate being right with being in control of a conversation or situation?

If you hate feeling out of control, you might insist that you are right even when you are wrong because it helps you feel as though you have the upper hand.

To admit to being wrong leaves you feeling uncertain about what might happen next.

8. Your social identity requires you to be right.

Do you tie your opinions and beliefs to your identity within a group? Or do you base that identity largely around intellectual and moral superiority?

If so, you may defend your beliefs resolutely because it equates to you defending your identity.

To own up to being wrong would shatter that identity.

9. You are highly competitive.

You just love winning and you often see conversations as contests or debates.

So, you keep trying to make your point as strongly and as often as possible to wear down your ‘opponent’ so that they give in and change the subject (or, more likely, distance themselves from you).

10. You learned from your role models.

If you grew up in a home where one parent insisted on being correct or where both parents frequently fought over who was in the right, you may have learned that this behavior was normal and healthy.

You now imitate the things you saw your parent(s) do.

11. Workplace mistakes can have dramatic consequences.

Owning up to your mistakes and admitting when you’re wrong can invite people to try to use that against you.

Perhaps it’s a boss who doesn’t tolerate failure or who believes they can do no wrong.

Maybe it’s a coworker who is angling for a promotion that you’re competing for who will be more than happy to use that mistake against you.

Your need to be right can become a habit if you’re spending 40+ hours a week making sure you’re covering yourself so you don’t get blamed and fired for someone else’s mistake.

12. You have a mental health issue that promotes the need to be right.

If you have a mental health issue like an anxiety disorder, you may feel the need to always be right as a way to keep things in your mind and life plain and predictable.

Significant disruption and unexpected surprises can be upsetting and trigger mental unwellness.

It may feel better for your peace of mind and happiness for you to just stick to your opinion of what you think is right instead of trying to understand another perspective or saying that you don’t know something.

13. Modern society rewards the ‘right’ and punishes the ‘wrong’.

Everything is a competition these days, and often a ruthless one at that.

Being wrong or admitting to mistakes might prevent you from being given opportunities to further your life in some way.

Or that’s how you perceive the world. And so, you refuse to back down because you don’t want to miss out on something over being seen as wrong or inferior.

14. You are a part of an echo chamber.

Social media and the algorithms they employ have led to the emergence of echo chambers that far outstrip anything that might happen in real life. The same can be said for the media.

You can now have your views confirmed by others in groups and channels 24/7 and remain oblivious to opposing opinions.

You become so resolute in your rightness that you will die on the hill to defend it. And this approach has spilled into your everyday interactions, even when they do not involve particularly important matters of beliefs.

How do I let go of my need to be right all the time?

It is a good idea to seek professional help from one of the therapists at BetterHelp.com as professional therapy can be highly effective in helping to change your mindset to be less concerned with always being right.

Realizing that you have a problem is a big first step in overcoming it. But what else do you need to do to let go of this unhelpful behavior?

1. Understand where your need to be right comes from.

That may be a hard thing to identify, particularly if you’re not in tune with yourself.

You may also find that you can’t identify where the need comes from because it comes from such a negative place.

People who have lived through traumatic or abusive circumstances may have parts of their memory repressed.

If you can’t identify where your need to be right is coming from, it would be worthwhile to talk to a certified mental health professional about the problem and how to correct it.

2. Choose to give up control and follow another person’s lead on purpose.

In social dynamics, people often fall into or push themselves into assumed roles.

A person who is used to pushing themselves to the front of a group to lead the way may need to make an active choice to step back and let someone else lead.

The results probably won’t turn out how you envision, but you’ll find that people can be pretty competent if they are given the freedom to follow their own path and ideas.

You can always make suggestions about how to proceed.

3. Force yourself to acknowledge when you’re wrong.

Admitting when you are wrong is one of the hardest, most valuable things you can do.

In doing so, you’re demonstrating that you understand that you made a wrong decision and want to mend that bridge with other people.

The need to be right causes issues because you may not be right. You might have bad information or have just responded out of impulse.

Humility is a strong path to overcoming those impulses and managing them well.

Even if you are terrified of looking stupid, you must try to own your shortcomings. It will get easier with time.

4. Challenge the need in your own mind by further exploring the opinions of other people.

Ask other people why they believe the things that you disagree with.

By trying to look at the world through their eyes, you can expand your own perspective and learn new things.

Maybe you’ll find that you weren’t completely right after all!

At the very least, you’ll get more experience with a wider variety of perspectives.

And we get it—you probably can’t stand being corrected. But where there are gray areas, don’t view it as being corrected, but rather as learning something new.

5. Evaluate your social skills to see if they might need working on.

A person’s intelligence can interfere with their social awareness, particularly if they have mental health issues that affect socialization.

Social skills are something that can be learned and honed with book learning and practice.

The need to be right all the time can damage your relationship with other people, such as embarrassing a spouse by arguing over some inconsequential matter that no one else really cares about.

Social awareness is being able to identify when it’s worthwhile to argue and when it’s best to bite your tongue.

6. And most importantly—keep trying!

Fixing this kind of thinking is not a one and done situation.

It’s a problem that will require consistent, repeated effort over a period of time to fix.

It may also require the assistance of a mental health professional if you feel like you’re having a hard time staying on track or require more focused help.

Still not sure how to stop needing to always be right?

Talk to a therapist about it.

Why? Because they are trained to help people in situations like yours.

They can help you to unconver your particular reasons for needing to be right all the time and provide practical, specific advice to help you tame those urges.

BetterHelp.com is a website where you can connect with a therapist via phone, video, or instant message.

While you may try to work through this yourself, it may be a bigger issue than self-help can address.

And if it is affecting your mental well-being, relationships, or life in general, it is a significant thing that needs to be resolved.

Too many people try to muddle through and do their best to overcome behaviors they don’t really understand in the first place. If it’s at all possible in your circumstances, therapy is 100% the best way forward.

Online therapy is actually a good option for many people. It’s more convenient than in-person therapy and is more affordable in a lot of cases.

And you get access to the same level of qualified and experienced professional.

Here’s that link again if you’d like to learn more about the service BetterHelp.com provide and the process of getting started.

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About The Author

Jack Nollan is a person who has lived with Bipolar Disorder and Bipolar-depression for almost 30 years now. Jack is a mental health writer of 10 years who pairs lived experience with evidence-based information to provide perspective from the side of the mental health consumer. With hands-on experience as the facilitator of a mental health support group, Jack has a firm grasp of the wide range of struggles people face when their mind is not in the healthiest of places. Jack is an activist who is passionate about helping disadvantaged people find a better path.