We all like to be right, don’t we?
And most of us want to be happy.
But when our “right” clashes with someone elses’s “right,” it causes disagreements–which infringe on our happiness…
We received a very good question from a reader who is mulling over a question that most of us have wrestled with more than once.
Here’s his question…
“How do you define be right or be happy? I understand some things are better left unsaid but right is right and wrong is wrong. Explain please.”
As we said in a previous article called, “Being Right or Being Happy–Do You Have to Choose?”, happiness doesn’t have anything to do with being right or being wrong.
You can make a choice to be happy no matter what the circumstances are around you and we realize that sometimes that’s easier than other times.
The point is that happiness is internal and doesn’t depend on outward circumstances.
So often we have a story about how things should be in order for us to be happy. The story is made up but yet we totally buy into it and believe it.
We make the story so real that we think our happiness cannot be achieved unless this thing happens.
The truth is there are people in prison who are happier than some millionaires who could have anything money can buy.
So being right or being happy isn’t an either/or choice that has to be made.
If that’s true, then what do you do when you come face to face with it?
Here are 3 ways to “win” when you’re dealing with this be right or be happy dilemma in your life…
1. Recognize that “the being right” position is a no-win position
Yes, as our reader said, some things are better left unsaid.
The truth is that you will know when to respond and when to just let the words remain unsaid when your mind is clear and not fogged with the emotional pull of “being right.”
When you take a “being right” defensive position, it’s very difficult if not impossible to step away and decide to let whatever it is left unsaid.
We’re not saying that you should always leave your words unsaid.
There are very definitely times when words do need to be said but not from a hard, defensive position but rather from the heart, with emotional clarity.
Putting up a “being right” shield, distances you from others and can’t possibly create a win-win situation.
2. Your “right” and your “happy” are not someone else’s right or happy
This brings up another part of our reader’s comments…“right is right and wrong is wrong”
Obviously, there are factual events that no one could argue the “rightness” of but here’s the truth…
We all have different memories of events that happened and words that were said.
Our memory of an event comes from the thoughts we hold about that event and the people involved.
Early in our relationship, the two of us would get into a “he-said-she-said” disagreement about some incident that happened.
Susie thought Otto said one thing and he would say he said (or didn’t say) something else.
It didn’t take us long to discover that we both had different experiences of the same event and arguing about it wouldn’t resolve anything.
So we focused on the present moment instead, realizing that if we both held onto being right, we’d destroy the connection and love that we had.
“Right is right and wrong is wrong” can also play out when it comes to differing values and beliefs.
Otto’s father never wore short sleeved shirts because he thought it was wrong but Otto didn’t have that belief.
Now they never had an argument about it but you can see with this example how useless it would have been for Otto to say anything to his dad about it.
3. Come to a conversation with an open heart and mind
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We know that there are some topics around values that you hold a strong opinion about like if a partner is lying, cheating, gambling, or involved in harmful addictions of all kinds.
If you do feel compelled to express your thoughts, you don’t have to do it in a combative way.
When you remember that we all have formulated “right” and “wrong” from different experiences and memories, it allows you to step out of the “being right” illusion.
When you take the “rightness” and “wrongness” out of it and simply come to a conversation with an open heart, your wisdom will guide you in the words to say that may open his or her heart.
But that won’t happen if you’re stuck in right and wrong.
It will happen with love.