Years ago, while I was going through breast cancer, I had an amazing therapist who worked with people who had “traumatic diagnosis”. Norma is an incredible woman and she knew I was living in a relationship with a man who always had to be right. He always had to have the last word. You know the type, in our lives we all know this type of person.
He had been to several of my sessions and Norma’s training was of course to pick out the warning lights. During one of our sessions she asked me to memorize this question:
“Would you rather be right, or would you rather be happy?”
Easy answer – happy. I understood the question and for the rest of my relationship with this man I would say I scored a 90% on walking away and smiling. We are not perfect, are we?
It worked so well that I use it all the time. It is a form of choosing your battles wisely – because you can decide
to stand and fight to be right or you can walk away and smile. Then there is the pride issue. I had to learn to let go of my pride and that feeling of defeat if I walked away and I taught myself by walking away I could be proud of myself.
I had to put this into use recently with someone I have worked with in the world of technology and social media. This person was actually harassing me because I would not take their side or share their opinion of someone we both know. It actually got so ugly that even when I tried to be happy by ignoring the situation , that only made it worse. I realize it is all because of the need to be right, the need to have the last word. What I learned is that there are different degrees of the need to be right. This person’s need took an ugly turn to the point where I was on the verge of taking it to the association we are both affiliated with and that could have made things worse.
How did I finally shut it down? I stopped being nice, I stopped my happy tone in handling it, and as I analyzed the situation I realized that all this whining, all this temper-tantrum attitude, all the mean name calling was alerting me to the fact that this person has the emotional age of an elementary school aged child. I flipped on my parental switch and handled it with as if I were scolding a child. It was some pretty heavy scolding but it worked. It shut the situation down. I walked away sad at first that I couldn’t use Norma’s advice completely but there is always an exception to the rule isn’t there? I am okay with how it ended. I know that there are always people who will push and push and these people will pull out all the stops when it comes to trying to be right.
If complaints continue to happen behind my back, that’s ok. Most of us don’t listen to those who have to always cry foul.