Saving your relationship by
letting go of the need to always be right
No addiction is healthy. But when it comes to love, there is one addiction that is fatal. It is the obsessive addiction to being right. This mental knee-jerk mechanism stops listening and communication dead on the spot. Once you are attached to being right, you can no longer hear the truth or partial truth that the other person is saying, because your brain has just switched into a Neanderthal mode of right/wrong. Open-mindedness, which is necessary to deal with disagreements in a healthy way, no longer has a fighting chance. Saving your relationship depends on your willingness to let go of your attachment to being right.
The desire to be right is such a strong drive in humans that I sometimes wonder if there isn't a little "wanting-to-be-right" control room in the brain that has been there since the dawn of civilization. It seems as primal as the fight-or-flight mechanism. It is this fight-to-be-right syndrome that has contributed to wars abroad and battles at home.
Some of us have this mechanism more than others, but all of us, at one time or another, have found ourselves entrenched in a position, hanging on to an argument, or choosing to martyr ourselves in defense of an opinion. But if saving your relationship is a priority, you need to let go of your need to always be right.
Not only has this fight-to-be-right syndrome caused untold suffering in the world, it is the cause of many arguments between ourselves and those we love. That is why this is such an important healthy relationship tip for saving your relationship, and it can have a powerful impact on improving your love life!
Think back on a recent fight or argument you had with someone. Was there also a determination to win, perhaps at the cost of kindness? Were you willing to use harsh words or a tough tone of voice in defense of your position? Was being right more important than even the merits of the issue you were discussing? If saving your relationship is important to you, you know what you need to do. If you said "yes" to any of these questions, it is a good opportunity to examine your "fight-to-be-right" state of mind.
Here is a little snippet of a conversation between Susie and Mark that shows how easily the desire to be right can take over and blow loving feelings right out the window.
Susie pulls her wet hands out of a sink full of greasy dishes and calls to her husband, who is watching the ball game. "Mark, honey, the sink is stopped up again..." "Again!" his voice bellows from the living room. "What did you do? You poured hamburger grease down the drain again, didn't you?"
Susie marches into the living room, her voice fighting with the TV. "You didn't fix it like I asked you to! I bet you just used a plunger. You didn't really clear the pipes like I asked.... " Mark doesn't wait for her to finish. The tone of her words tells his primitive brain: “Okay, this is a fight, which means I have to make sure I win!" Mark’s tone immediately matches hers, upping the volume to assert his alpha position. "I told you not to pour grease down the drain!" He follows her into the kitchen and surveys the scene. "Now you have a sink full of greasy dishes! Look at this mess!"
"Well, if you had really fixed the drain instead of just using a plunger and being lazy... "
By now they are in a full-blown argument. Neither Susie nor Mark wants to admit that they are wrong. So they will fight to the death to prove that they are right. This argument would have never even begun if Susie could just have said: "You're right, I forgot, and poured hamburger grease down the drain again. Would you please help me clear the drain?"
Or if Mark could have said: "You're right. I thought just using the plunger would take care of it, and I hate using those chemicals."
In the heat of the moment, the last thing we want to do is admit we might have made a mistake. But in the long run it is so much easier to just say so, and not engage in a do-or-die battle to be right.
This is one hot saving-your-relationship tip.
Try any of these simple four steps the next time you see an argument beginning to heat up.
*Am I just wanting to be right in this situation?
* Could I let go of the feeling of wanting to fight-to-be-right?
* Could I simply admit my error, and then ask for what I need?
* Could I choose to be happy instead of "dead-right?"
These four steps could change the quality of your life permanently. You might find that peace and harmony feel even better than being right. The satisfaction of winning an argument is often short lived. If it wasn't, why would we constantly be driven to repeat the process of proving ourselves right?
Being right is like an addictive drug. You always need more of it in order to feel satisfied. But the feeling of peace and harmony that comes from surrendering this primitive drive to be right can lead to a lifetime of joy in your personal relationships.
Choose happiness. And you'll be happy. Asking yourself this simple question: “Would I rather be right or be happy?" is one of the most important healthy relationship tips I can offer you. This is the secret of saving your relationship.
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