You can choose to be right or to be happy – not both
Oh I can already hear the outcry: “Of course I can be right and happy!”
Bear with me please, I am not saying this lightly.
I am talking about handling conflict or arguments in any relationship, when you defend a point of view and your friend or partner has a different one.
These are the possible outcomes in an argument:
1. You are right, hence your partner is wrong.
2. Your friend is right, hence you are wrong.
3. You agree to disagree.
Now, how can a situation have a positive outcome, if it depends on someone else being “wrong”?
Once you have proven that you are right, or the smarter one, the “good one”, how do you think it feels to be wrong, the dumber one, the bad one?
How well are you going to connect, when you are not equals, but one is “better than” and the other is “less than”?
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to feel righteous, to let your pride talk? As opposed to being tolerant and accepting, listening with an open mind?
You may feel that glow of victory, but it’s a pyrrhic victory – best case scenario, you’re gloating and your partner is subdued; worst case scenario, your partner makes life hell for you as payback. I cannot see happiness in either case.
There are so few cases in which there is black/white or right/wrong, how about trying to understand the other’s position? Not judging it, but finding tolerance for it?
That is what agreeing to disagree is about. You are allowed your convictions, but as a corollary, they are allowed to keep theirs.
I know our society keeps repeating that we must win, but that always implies that others must lose. And “being the winner” cannot be a relationship goal.
What if instead, we made connecting our relationship goal?