If there is a choice to be seen as right versus understood, the latter has more positive outcomes.
Because you already know what is right for you. Nobody can tell you otherwise if it is rooted in your beliefs and values. And then what? Being right doesn't always have it's advantages. For example, say you are having a discussion with supervisors. You know you are right about having and using more inclusive language. You know this is vital to reaching more populations. These folks don't understand why there is value. Don't internalize this as needing to prove you are right, go about it differently.
Instead of arguing to be right, make the points to be understood. Explain why inclusive language will have a positive impact. Be clear about what it means to be understood. If you strive to simply be right, what will happen next? If you want something specific to happen, such as change in language, being right doesn't mean that language change will occur.
It's a strategy. It's also a form of self-care in working situations where you don't get paid enough to be educating folks as your primary role. If what you need is to get things done, being right will not always have that outcome. Being understood may get you closer to what you need to have happen.
The outcomes you wish to have may not always manifest. This will happen especially when you are working within other organizations, especially those with funders and lots of rules and guidelines. To strive to be understood will open up an opportunity for you to understand where resistance and fear may lie with those you work with.
People don't always have the language to discuss a lot of what you are trying to do and the change you are seeking to create and be a part of in your communities. For this reason, you must go into some spaces seeking understanding because the language may not be present or available. Many folks have never heard of certain terms, and if they have they are loaded with so many stereotypes and myths and those create barriers.
You know what is right for you. There is no proof you must offer to demonstrate what you believe is right. Strive for being understood and you will be closer to building the communities, networks, spaces, and experiences you desire and deserve. This will also help you weed out folks who will be a drain and just take up space.
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