When Is The Last Word The Last Word?

The absolute determination to make a point only seems complete when whomever is on the other end of the discussion has no retort to make. It is assumed they have run out of ammunition. The debate, or “discussion” has been won! They have run out of arguments or positions. Silence ensues, and that fleeting moment of ecstasy is yours.

Now the question. Was it worth it? Here again is one of those illusions the mind plays on us, that having the last word makes us superior. It never occurs to add at what cost. Winning or defeating another never ends up being a “win.” Another form of domination over another is what happens. Remember the last time that happened to you?

How did you feel? Someone took you to the cleaners over something that wasn’t even that important, and you felt lousy afterwards. Licking your wounds is never a fun thing, and generally ends up reviewing the incident to figure out where you went wrong. So here you are, focused on that which you can’t change, ignoring all that’s going on around you.

Does this sound familiar? You bet it does, and those memories rankle as you give space and time to them. Right there is the bigger problem. Why fuss over something from the past? No effort will change it. This classifies as truly wasted time being in the present and living in the past.

Where is it written that getting the last word wins? What if the last words are “thank you.” Does that sound like someone won a debate? What about “you’re  right?” Could this be the last word of defeat, or simply a surrender to come back another day? Why does it have to be any of these?

The times I can remember getting the last word never did measure up to what seemed like a victory. Emptiness would be more like it, unless is was an actual debate by the rules. The idea is to defeat the opponent with any means possible. In an argument there are no rules, and things are said that can’t be taken back, that never should have left the tongue.

So how important is that last word, really? Worth ruining a friendship, starting a war, or worse? How many have been killed by the tongue, or died because of it? What about those who inflicted the telling blow? Is there a chance they would change their actions if they had a “do over?” Are there times you would like to stuff those words back in your mouth, or someone else’s?

No doubt, and it can’t be done can it. And what’s it all about? Being right? Is being right about something really that important? In a matter of life or death perhaps. Leaving the cap off the toothpaste or not hardly classifies, yet this and even less important issues, are once again only about ego.

In attempting to get the last word, much of the reason has to do with the fear of being wrong. Another is feeling that what you think you know is important to the other person, when in fact they likely don’t even care, as they are tuned into their own personal WIIFM radio.

A great quote from Dr. Wayne Dyer made tons of sense in situations like this. “What another person thinks of you, is none of your business.” You could shorten that a little and it may still apply. What another person thinks, is none of your business.

So ok, think about that for just a quick minute. Do you really care what the other person thinks about anything? In fact, aren’t you more wrapped up in what you think about everything? How hard is it for someone to change your mind, unless you are completely open to that possibility?

Open mindedness. Isn’t that an interesting concept, and one most are very unfamiliar with. You pick your side of any issue and don’t let anyone speak against it. Right? It could be as important as when and how to put the BBQ sauce on the ribs on the grill outside. Do you really care how I do it? Even if mine just might have a better flavor…today. Tomorrow they may taste terrible, but the prick to your sense of propriety is at risk.

It may be how you mow your grass, horizontal or perpendicular to the sidewalk. I may do mine at angles just to be different. I don’t like paisleys in any form or fashion. Someone else thinks they’re the ultimate in fashion. This goes on add nasueam. What does it prove?

To a large degree it goes back to insecurity, and a fear of being wrong. We have been trained that being wrong somehow makes us an inferior person. This has been a cultural thing, maybe since the beginning of time. It is seen in the same category as a mistake. Our society has taught us this is unpardonable, yet it is those very things that cause us to find ways to do something better, or find out where we went wrong. Some just decide to cave and give up, deciding to never have an opinion or take the risk of being wrong.

Others would rather die. Many do, from stress related heart attacks and other ailments. So there’s a way to look at being wrong and making mistakes. They are opportunities to learn, and it seems it was intended to be that way.

Have you ever stopped to consider, that the best lessons you have learned were all the result of being wrong or making a mistake? Probably not. Some do, most don’t. Why is that? It is easier to buy in to the illusion of the ego, that it wasn’t your fault, that you’re right no matter what evidence says, and that someday everyone will have to admit it?

I would like to be one of the examples someone offers of how many times I was wrong, compared to the times I was right. We have the examples before us of those who were wrong more times than right, yet they made enormous changes in the world.

Edison, A.J.Foyt, Babe Ruth, Disney, Harlan Sanders, to name just a few. Failures and mistakes peppered their lives, but what do we remember them for? Their successes, even though the failures far outnumber those. _DSC4801

Being wrong, making mistakes, pave the way to being right about what matters when it matters, and learning why along the way. You may agree, that speaks louder than the “last word,” because success needs no approval.

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Alan Written by:

Alan is retired and resides in Quito, Ecuador. Writing is a passion which has resulted in two eBooks thus far, with more in the works. Married 47 years with four sons and 13 grandchildren, provides potential grist for the mill! Alan is a charter "Boomer", a Viet Nam veteran, committed to roasting his own coffee and writes about whatever pops into his mind. He loves to build and ride recumbent bikes, play racquetball, writes almost daily, travels Ecuador, and talks to anything that does not move fast enough! The twinkle in his eye is a combination of the sun, and an active sense of humor. His desire to encourage others to write is being answered through his articles on the Internet.