Has anyone ever asked you what’s more important to you, being right, or keeping the peace while being happy. Believe it or not, the first time I heard this question many years ago, I didn’t get it. I have to admit it. In other words, can’t you be both right and happy? As it turns out, not always. Firstly, if you have a habit of preferring to be right over happiness, you may be suffering.
In fact, suffering from the erroneous and unconscious belief that being right and being happy are synonymous. Therefore, for people who like to be right, it’s simply logical. Being right can mean making sure that you present all the facts. Likewise, being crystal clear about where you’re coming from and having to win every debate or argument. All of them can be useful and even fun.
But they’re not always the most skillful ways of relating to other people. Don’t get me wrong. Focusing on being happy over being right doesn’t mean you let other people walk all over you. Likewise, that you don’t tell other people what you’re really feeling, even if that’s the best option. Most importantly, choosing happiness rather than to be right means you truly value keeping harmony and peace.
Secondly, it also means you value creating understanding, over insisting on being heard. But making sure that other people “get” you or teach someone else a lesson. On the other hand, if someone is actively manipulating or deceiving you, protect yourself. Likewise, if people are lying to, or gaslighting you, your focus should be primarily on protecting yourself.
For example, with good boundaries, rather than avoiding difficult interactions for the sake of keeping the peace. However, there are many opportunities in everyday life to choose serenity over stress. Today, we’ll focus on letting go of the need of being right. Plus, why it’s utterly important to do so.
Cultivating the healthy habit of happiness
Firstly, you need to cultivate the habit of choosing happiness over being right. This way, you’ll spend less time bickering and engaging in power struggles. But more time focusing on acceptance, letting go, and fostering win-win outcomes. One of the most common ways people choose to be right over being happy is when someone points out something about you that scares you.
For instance, your humanity, imperfections, or part of your personality that’s a work in progress. The person may say you made a minor error, dropped the ball in some way, or didn’t follow through. So, if you focus on being right, you’ll immediately react with what you did that was right. Likewise, you’ll highlight the fact that last time you did it correctly. But completely glossing over and ignoring the fact that you did, indeed, make a mistake.
Essentially, you get defensive and don’t know how to lead with the agreement. But if you’re a person who struggles with image management or toxic shame, you’re vulnerable. In other words, you’re particularly vulnerable to reacting with defensiveness and being right. This way, you’ll prop up your vulnerable sense of self in the face of what feels like an attack.
Lastly, another way people choose to be right over happy is when someone tries to solve a problem. Plus, rather than accept the apology or the offer to repair the problem, you act differently. For instance, you point out and drill down about how they messed up. But you could simply accept the apology or the offer to fix the issue. Sadly, when you’re dealing with bureaucracies like insurance companies or government agencies, this strategy is particularly tempting.
Five ways to be happy
Firstly, some people choose to be right by being a perpetual know-it-all. No matter the topic, you feel compelled to add to the conversation. For example, you may also correct another person’s misinformation, or otherwise demonstrate your vast knowledge. Resist the ugly urge. Believe it or not, we can help with these tips. Here are five ways to choose to be happy over being right:
- If what you’d like to add to a conversation doesn’t create shared understanding or connection, keep it to yourself.
- When you’re agitated, activated, or emotionally triggered, it’s probably best to keep your words to a minimum.
- When it’s clear that another person wants the last word, and you have little interest, let them win. You surely have an attachment to the outcome of the conversation. But let them “win” by having the last word.
- When your spouse makes a simple error like buying the “wrong” kind of lettuce, relax. So, if it’s the wrong mayonnaise or orange juice, take the high road and let it go.
- When a friend or stranger expresses a viewpoint or belief that doesn’t diminish or exploit others. But is diametrically opposed to yours. Remind yourself that everyone has a right to their own opinions and beliefs. Thus, if you need to say something, you could simply reply, “That’s interesting.”
Avoid conflict at all costs
Firstly, conflict is a pretty difficult subject. I learned a great deal from my spouse on this subject. Naturally, I’m conflict-averse. Therefore, I’ll do my best to avoid it at all costs. This can be a little limp though and failing to stand up for what is right. So, to remain on the path of least resistance isn’t right. On the other hand, some people live in a place of conflict and become rather immune to it.
So why exactly is this? Sadly, often it connects to a constant desire to prove oneself to be right. There’s a time and a place for this. Plus, as I was explaining to a child recently, sometimes, it’s simply better to keep the peace than ‘once again’ prove yourself to be right.
Therefore, spouses should appropriately nurture relationships. After all, according to author and lifestyle coach Rusiane Almeida, “It’s not about being right. It’s about respect. Unfortunately, some people only know the meaning of fake peace. Fake peace is when they’re good and don’t care about others”.
Why being kind to people is better than being right
Believe it or not, for people giving up the need to always be right, is pivotal. In fact, it’s one of the most important lessons we can learn from life. Likewise, it’ll help us achieve peace of mind. And improve the quality of our relationship, not only with those around us but with ourselves also. So who cares if you’re right or not? Who cares if after a very long and intense argument you “win”?
Does this really bring pleasure to you? In other words, you hold onto an idea so strongly and you’re willing to make others feel utterly bad. Just so you can show you’re always right. Is it really worth it? Therefore, you should just do a test. Next time you feel the urge to strongly disagree with somebody over something, as you know you’re right. On the other hand, pause for a second and ask yourself, “Do I really care more about being right than about the quality of the relationship I have?” Of course, I’m not saying that you should compromise. And, that you should just nod your head, approving everything that others say, because that’s quite silly. Likewise, you’ll never learn how to have a proper conversation where you express your point of view.
But what I’m saying is to work on giving up the need to always be right. This way, you’ll leave your ego behind. Therefore, always choose to be kind to people over right, choosing to disagree without being disagreeable. It’s not a race, it’s not all about who’s right and who isn’t.
The bottom line
Therefore, choose your battles. Stop arguing over who’s right and who’s not, not even listening to what the other person has to say. In other words, while they talk, you’re rearranging your thoughts and preparing your speech. Simply choose to silent your mind and actually pay attention to what the other person has to say.
In short, believe me, you’ll learn so much more from doing that. You have two ears and one mouth for a reason, don’t you think? So why not choose growth over stagnation, why not choose to be kind to people instead of being right? Just give it a try and see what happens. That’s the bottom line.
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