The Leap Between Being Right or Being Happy

The Leap Between Being Right or Being Happy

Last update: 08 September, 2016

“Two close friends began a trip. When night fell, they went to sleep under a tree next to each other. One of them dreamed they had taken a boat and were shipwrecked on an island. Upon awakening, he began to ask his friend if he remembered the voyage, the ship and the island. He couldn’t believe it when his friend told him that he hadn’t had that dream. Impossible, he could not believe it! He was angry with his friend and refused to accept that he had not had the same dream as he…”

Intolerance, ego, pride, misunderstanding and lack of empathy are natural barriers that keep us from moments of happiness or states of tranquility and inner peace.

“If there is victory in defeating the enemy, it is even greater when the man conquers himself”

-Jose de San Martin-

How much are we willing to endure an uncomfortable situation that we are experiencing? Do we know how to coexist while facing others, and above all, facing ourselves? Do we really control how we want to balance the pros and cons?

The mismanagement of the tense situations we are involved in deprives us and robs us of hours, weeks and even years of enjoying friends, family or our partner for the sake of “being right”.

sad woman on a swing

Is being right that powerful?

The feeling of victory is a powerful drug that can hook us when fed by our pride and ego. But what is the price of keeping ourselves in our position?

Is the value of what we gain by being right greater than what we lose? The satisfaction we get from always insisting on being “right” keeps us from tranquility and robs us of companionship, connection, affection, friendship and support.

Movies and literature are full of stories where standing firm and being stubborn leads to misfortune or unhappiness. However, very few of us learn from it.

“There is a range of emotional competencies-the ability to calm oneself (and to reassure the partner), empathy and listening-which facilitate the couple in being able to solve their disagreements more effectively. The development of these skills makes the existence of healthy discussion possible, “good fights” that contribute to the maturation of marriage and cut negative forms of relationship from the root which often lead to its breakup”

-Daniel Goleman-

Beyond the motives

There are three main reasons why someone becomes attached to being right:

  • The need to strengthen their ego
  • The need to reaffirm their self-esteem
  • Fear of other positions or “losing” power and control

No one is the master of absolute truth. This idea seems to mature within us and is present in moments of temperance, but sometimes falters when we are confronted by others…

What drives stubbornness?

Fury, fear, frustration and anger. When we see that something is not resolved or satisfied by our standards, a number of mechanisms are put in place that unleash negative emotions which hinder our reasoning and consume the energy inside us.

When we get stuck in one position, we lose energy and above all, time.

“Really strong and happy people almost never fight. They do not lose their precious time or their magnificent energy because of it. They are focused on their projects and enjoying their life. And the best part is that expletives and outbursts hardly annoy them!

-Rafael Santandreu-

Berating, manipulative attempts, demands, teasing, emotional dependencies, etc, are all behaviors of a person who is stuck in stubbornness. And we are usually not proud of these behaviors and would prefer tranquility and flexibility.

How to get out of the predicament?

We can ask some questions that will help us find a flexible way to do it:

  • How do I feel about the situation? Finding the right words to describe how we feel promotes spatial thinking and helps to eliminate “noise” that can disturb the most reasonable aspects of the situation.
  • Does the other person know how I feel? This goes beyond discussions led by emotions and beyond “because you are …” and “I am …”
  • Do I know how the other person is feeling? Sometimes we turn to the interpretation of thought. This is nothing more than affirming statements such as: “He certainly thinks that…”
  • How did the conflict start? What did I want to achieve and what is it the other person wanted to achieve?
woman hugging her image in the mirror

The next step would be to consider alternatives within the conflict and determine to what extent you’re willing to be flexible and give in.

Of course, it’s important to approach all of this with the utmost sincerity. There is no point in faking flexibility. Sooner or later the seams will burst, and we will start another conflict which is fueled by the previous one. It will have a different shape and a different language, but still keep the same skin.

Let’s think about the time we can spend with others and give it the value it deserves.


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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.