Have you heard of the saying, “it’s better to be happy than to be right”?
Even though we say we’d rather be happy, sometimes our need to exert control over a person or a situation and dominate makes us insist on being right.
Happy is a heart thing — dealing with all-encompassing feelings — but being right is a mind thing — the ego wants to win.
When someone fights to prove they are right, they are saying that another is wrong — a very ego-fulfilling behavior, which is the opposite of a heart-fulfilling behavior.
Social media is a prime example of a forum where the righteous can rally without filter and without regard for others. In the absence of the civility and intimacy that comes with face-to-face experiences, too many find it too easy to use social media as their pulpit of righteousness. These ego-filled words can cause considerable harm.
As a life guide who has supported thousands of people through their journey, I have seen how the need to be right can go really wrong. When you try to control someone, it is a perfect recipe for anxiety, stress and frustration — all the emotions that can lead one to be unhappy.
Even the most repentant who deeply regret their need to be right have found that this pattern is not an easy one to break. The secret to breaking free is to learn how to identify, in the moment, what you do want.
Here are the steps you can follow to break self-righteous patterns:
>> Notice your feelings. Once you are engaged in wanting to be right, take note of how uncomfortable and stressed you feel. See these feelings as a warning signal.
>> Identify what you really want. Once signaled, stop and ask yourself what it is you want. Is it to be valued? Is it honesty you want? Do you want to feel important? Is it that you want someone to care about the same things you do? Identify what you want, and then strive for humility and kindness in the interaction.
>> Make a plan to get what you want. Think of a way to get your needs met without diminishing others. If you want to be valued, seek out the people in your life who value your opinion. If you want someone to care about the same things you do, seek out like-minded people.
Of course, no one likes to be wrong. Being right feeds our ego by putting ourselves above others.
But if you can unearth your true desire from a situation, you can take control in a more loving way. Focusing on kindness, love and what’s important is the best way to create more happiness in your life.
Alice Inoue is the founder of Happiness U. Visit yourhappinessu.com.