The Need to Be Right

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Some days I go around in the clutches of my own self-righteousness. Whether it’s the idiot who doesn’t know how to drive or the fool who can’t bag my groceries or the parents who are totally mishandling a situation with their children, I feel certain I know better.

Luckily for others, I usually hold my tongue, having been taught as a child, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Inwardly, though, I stew. Or else I make nasty comments inside the safety of my car so that the object of my ridicule has no idea what I’m saying.

My family members, however, are not so lucky. At home I’m known for having to have the last word in an argument, and I will strategically hurl some invective at my target as he or she is leaving the room. If I’m not going head to head with my husband about child rearing, household tasks, or the logistics for a family outing, I am haranguing my children about their mistakes and foolish choices. Even as I’m in the midst of full-on nagging, I try telling myself to let it go, but I just can’t seem to stop myself.

It’s exhausting always having to be right. A couple of years ago, I was working with my life coach Melissa on parenting issues, and she shared with me this insight from Scott Noelle on his website EnjoyParenting.com.

I’d Rather Feel Good!

We’ve been conditioned by the agents of our culture –parents, teachers, the media, etc. — to believe that our success and happiness depend on being “right.”

Today, let’s question that …

When you argue with your child, you may be “right,” but do you feel happy?

When you criticize your partner, you may be “right,” but do you feel love?

When you berate yourself for making a mistake, you get to be “right” about your wrongness! Are we having fun yet???

If you feel stress today — even mild tension — ask yourself if you’re trying to be “right” about something, and consider the potential relief of simply letting go.

Just breathe … and tell yourself, “I’d rather feel good than be right!”

I keep this wisdom on a bulletin board in my laundry room so that I can keep reminding myself that being “right” is not all it’s cracked up to be.

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