You can’t be both.
In a recent session, a client complained about her co-worker, saying, “She SHOULD have known how I wanted her to do it, but she kept asking me to do it differently.” I asked her, “Do you want to be happy?” She said, “Of course!” I said, “Then you can’t be right.” She looked puzzled (and a little irritated).
Two weeks later I saw her again. Her face had changed completely. Her color, her eyes, her skin…everything was more balanced in her face..and her body was more relaxed than I had ever seen her.
I asked, “What are you doing right?”
“I’m happy,” she said.
She said she had been giving alot of thought to the question, “Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy.” She had grappled with it, talked with her husband about it and even her son about it. She finally allowed herself to admit she wanted to be happy, more than anything, and she wanted her sanity, inner peace and energy back. She knew she would have to give up being right.
She remembered back to when she had lost those things over two years ago, due to a situation at work. Since then, there had been an argument in her head about who was right and who was wrong (they were), how wrong they were and how could she prove it?
Until our session two weeks ago, she was not aware how much energy and attention was absorbed by this argument. Now, she has decided nothing is worth sacrificing her health, happiness and the harmony in her home. When people at work don’t do what she thinks they should, or, when people at home don’t do what she thinks they should, instead of trying to convince them how wrong they are for doing it that way, (with supporting evidency she has gathered of course!!) she simply moves forward. She makes clear requests about the future and creates new agreements that are more likely to yield desirable results.
Three years ago, another client hired me to help her deal with a ‘difficult’ manager she had to supervise. After taking a communication seminar with me and working one-on-one to implement coaching tools in her communication, she confessed that driving to and from work was a totally different experience.
“How is driving to work any different?” I asked her.
“I had no idea how much of my bandwidth was being used to replay arguments and potential arguments between myself and this manager! Now, my drive is totally peaceful…I don’t have those thoughts running roughshod through my head!”
I saw her again recently and she reported that since she started using coaching tools over three years ago, making small perceptual changes over time, she and this manager have become close friends and allies. Although he has just recently moved onto another company, they were able to work very harmoniously together for the last three years.
If your sanity is important to you, take a look at this list to see how invested you are in being right:
1. In a conflict situation are you more invested in proving your point of view, than in finding a workable solution for moving forward?
2. Have you ever had the thought, “If only this person would….THEN I could be happy”?
3. Do you find yourself gathering evidence, or taking note of all the times a certain person does something wrong (meaning different than how YOU would have done it)?
If you answered ‘yes’ to any question, you are NORMAL! Most people spend at least 80% of their energy and intelligence on the argument they have with a partner, political figure, co-worker, boss or the world in general.
What if, instead of trying to prove that your point of view is the ‘right’ one, you chose to accept differences as a reality, and paradoxically also took action toward creating positive change…the change you wish to see??
Well, then you would risk being happy, that’s what!