Saturday, October 15, 2011

Give Up Being Right...

"Choose being kind over being right, and you'll be right every time."  ~Richard Carlson

Misunderstanding and disagreement in any relationship can actually be an opportunity to learn about ourselves.  However, most of the time we simply focus on how the other person is wrong.  It is easier to point the finger than to look to ourselves and face the unpleasant truth that we may share some or all of the responsibility.  We think, "If he (or she) were only more considerate, had more time for me, or did the dishes more, then I'd be happy."

Instead of looking at our own behavior, we believe that the other person is the problem.  We believe we are justified, reasonable and more than fair.  They need to change.

Of course, it is human nature to want to be right.  Most arguments start with small issues and escalate.  Problems grow the longer we hold our positions.  We gather evidence, adding fuel to the fire, and over time, we lose sight of the original issue.  What we are left with is, at best, distance in a relationship, and at worst, no relationship at all.

Examples of this kind of interaction are everywhere.  Longstanding feuds between families going back generations may have begun with something as simple as a careless comment or a misinterpreted glance.  Or the reason could be something equally insignificant as leaving dirty socks on the floor.

When I believe I am right, I spend an exorbitant amount of time re-hashing the situation in my mind.  I obsessively review the other person's responses and actions to find the evidence I need to be right.  In this internal dialogue, nothing changes.  I try to rebuild my case, yet I get nowhere.  If I continue down this path, when the time comes to discuss the matter with the other person, I've already become the judge, jury, and executioner.

It really does take more energy to hold on to being right than it does simply to be responsible for our behavior.  When we are willing to let go, problems can be solved more easily.  People are more willing to listen, to be open, and even to acknowledge responsibility when they are not under attack.

Identify Your Expectations:
First acknowledge you have expectations.  Then ask yourself if you are willing to give them up.  Stop expecting others to read your mind, to know what you want and need, and to satisfy your unspoken expectations.  Stop waiting for people to complete you.

Stop Keeping Score:
Yesterday's argument doesn't have to carry over.  Don't bring it into your next dispute.  Don't throw things in each other's faces.  Accept that we are all human.  We all make mistakes.  We have our moods, our reactions, our fears.

Love people for who they are and who they aren't.  Allow them to change and grow.  Be willing to see them newly.  Don't put them in a box.  Instead of trying to make them be who you want them to be, give them the space to be who they are.

Give up Being Right:
Ask yourself--how important is your position, really?  Is being right more important than your relationships?

By Kristen Moeller. 

For more great posts by Kristen Moeller and other great authors, visit Positive Thoughts

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