Being right or being happy, do we have to choose?

We are often hearing that to be happy you have to be willing to give up being right.  I believe they don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Meaning being right and being happy can happen at the same time.  Just not how we usually think about it.  You can disagree with someone without needing them to change what they are doing or even to agree with you.  It also doesn’t mean you have to lower your boundaries.

So what does this mean?

If you have ever have been in a relationship with another human, and I am guessing you have, then you have probably experienced a situation where both parties feel they are right.  When you, in fact, know they are absolutely wrong and you have facts to back it up.  The thing is you can rarely change their mind.  If you have heard about motivational reasoning, where our brain looks for, twist, and disregards anything that doesn’t back up out beliefs, you know why.  So even when all evidence points to being wrong, most people will stick to their beliefs.  How then can you be right about what you believe and be happy?

Simply not being triggered by what the other person is saying.  You can state what you believe, your boundaries, your decisions, and then listen to the other person.  Listen, with the intent to understand their point of view and not to argue.  Compassionately give them space to voice their side.  Then if you feel your decision or boundaries are correct stick with them in a way that requires nothing of the other person. What does that look like?

My partner and I had been having a discussion that spanned where we did not agree on a decision I had made.  We both agreed on what had transpired we just didn’t agree on how to handle it.  I had decided to leave the situation and set boundaries that were kind yet firm.  Meaning, I was moving forward from what I considered an unhealthy situation and I wasn’t going to allow it back in my life.  This meant a certain professional distance from somebody.  I had no need for him to do anything or even agree with my decision and I was able to relate that kindly.  He came to me a few days later and said, “Rebecca I decided to put myself in your shoes or as close as I could.  I realized that if what happened to you happened to me I’d want the same boundaries in place.  I can now see where you are coming from.”

You can be right without making them wrong

I believe that if I had been angry or trying to make him wrong we wouldn’t have reached this conclusion.  Why? Our brains are wired to defend ourselves and when we try to make someone else wrong, they literally become more dug into what they believe.  Instead, I said what was right for me based on my perception of what happened. I did not need him to agree and I really mean that.  There were no barbs, or suggestions that he was wrong.  He didn’t have to agree, believe, or change anything.  He didn’t feel defensive and therefore didn’t need to defend his position.  This allowed him to look at it and come to me without feeling embarrassed or wrong about his previous stand.

Be happy and be right

Yes, you can do both!  You can stick with your boundaries and decisions and do it with love and compassion.  You can even have a partner who doesn’t agree and still be happy.  Why? You don’t need their agreement, you might want it, it might make you feel justified, but you don’t need it to feel happy.

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