Do you want to be right or be happy?

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - LIFESTYLE - CALODAGH MCCU­MISKEY’S

A good friend asked me this 13 years ago. It is etched in my me­mory as it caused me to pause for thought.

When I spoke about this with a group a few months back, a lady re­sponded echo­ing the wish of many in the room: ‘can’t I be both?’

If you are happy to live in your head, fo­cus­ing on your­self – and if growth or hu­mil­ity isn’t a pri­or­ity – maybe.

Given that we can do and achieve so lit­tle by our­selves – ‘mak­ing the sit­u­a­tion right’, ‘mak­ing the best of the sit­u­a­tion’ or learn­ing and grow­ing are gen­er­ally more el­e­vated and re­ward­ing goals. If you want to de­velop good re­la­tion­ships with oth­ers con­sis­tently, it is never help­ful to cre­ate a di­a­logue that ‘makes them wrong’. No­body wants to be wrong. When we are fixed on ‘be­ing right’, we in­vari­ably re­in­force deeper di­vides, sep­a­ra­tion and ac­ti­vate the ‘fault-find­ing’ mind­set of oth­ers too. As none of us our per­fect, we rarely ben­e­fit in any mean­ing­ful way when we have this type of nar­ra­tive go­ing in our heads.

Life is about learn­ing, mak­ing progress, and grow­ing. It is about im­prov­ing sit­u­a­tions, re­la­tion­ships and our­selves.

There are few sit­u­a­tions when some­one is 100 per­cent right and some­one else is 100 per­cent wrong. Some­times we make mis­takes. Some­times we al­low them to hap­pen. Some­times we make mis­takes by not con­fronting sit­u­a­tions or peo­ple or call­ing things. The ‘be­ing right’ ap­proach misses the nu­ances of that.

This is not to take from peo­ple (oth­ers and our­selves) be­ing ac­count­able – rather it is about the di­a­logue go­ing on in your head.

Hap­pi­ness is not to be con­fused with ‘ig­no­rance is bliss’. What truly brings hap­pi­ness and mean­ing over time is growth, con­tri­bu­tion and help­ing oth­ers etc. The ‘be­ing right’ ap­proach can bring com­fort, tem­po­rary moral su­pe­ri­or­ity, and make us happy in our heads but it not on the road to joy, rich­ness in re­la­tion­ships or deeper peace.

I am not sug­gest­ing set­tling for less. But rather, it is about let­ting go of a di­vi­sive way of look­ing at things and let­ting go some­times of con­trol, win­ning ev­ery bat­tle and ar­gu­ing ev­ery point in your head. Some­times this can make us vul­ner­a­ble even – a qual­ity we of­ten don’t like to show oth­ers – par­tic­u­larly if we feel we should be the big­ger bet­ter or stronger per­son.

Fur­ther, when you hold on to po­si­tions – it keeps you firmly in the past and nor­mally forms a dam block­ing growth. When I went to see Thich Nhat Hanh a few years ago, his open­ing line was:

‘The first time the ar­row hits, it’s painful. The sec­ond time it hits, it is 10 times more painful’. Dif­fi­cul­ties and prob­lems sting. When we keep re­mind­ing our­selves of how we were wronged, the pain and hurt am­pli­fies. We re­in­force how bad we feel and how wrong oth­ers are. Re­mind­ing your­self of how right you are only re­in­forces how wrong oth­ers are strength­en­ing feel­ings of sep­a­ra­tion and neg­a­tive dif­fer­ence. What you fo­cus on you feel.

On the other hand, be­ing right – gives us two of our four ba­sic needs–cer­tainty and sig­nif­i­cance (the other two are love and con­nec­tion, and un­cer­tainty). We al­ways meet our needs. Meet­ing them in a lower way al­ways of­ten pre­vents us from achiev­ing our goals.

The ‘need to be right’ – keeps us hold­ing on to old hurts rather than mov­ing for­ward and mak­ing the best of things.

For your own well­be­ing and the well­be­ing of your re­la­tion­ships with fam­ily and oth­ers, let­ting go of the ‘need to be right’ can free up much space, time and en­ergy for the deeper joys and riches of life.

Calodagh McCu­miskey de­signs and de­liv­ers be­spoke well­be­ing at work pro­grammes to grow peo­ple and com­pa­nies. She also of­fers reg­u­lar med­i­ta­tion classes, per­sonal de­vel­op­ment work­shops and well­be­ing con­sul­ta­tions to help peo­ple thrive

053 9140655 | [email protected]­i­tualearth.com | www.spir­i­tualearth.com

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