Would you rather be right or be happy?
Have you argued about how to load a dishwasher? Can two spoons be next to each other and actually get clean? Is it necessary to wash the dish before it is loaded? This is a common argument in households. Some may feel like the victim of an uncaring person who does not appreciate their time and effort. Others are in disbelief or shock that this conversation is actually happening and is a reoccurring debate within the household. The shocked individual may think “I am not trying to fight; I just want this done correctly.” The moment dishwasher rules and regulations were declared was the moment being right was viewed as a priority over being happy. In that brief moment there was a gap, and in that gap a choice.
The average adult makes more than 35,000 decisions a day. Throughout the day, we will all face a crossroad: the choice between being right or being happy.
When we focus on the “why” questions we are often searching for something, possibly trouble or maybe an explanation. Rather than asking, “Why don’t you just load the dishes correctly?” choosing to focus on “what” can increase your own insight. “What am I feeling? What can I do to respond better?” Asking the “why” will often place the responsibility on someone else. We are not responsible for what others think, feel, or do. We can only be responsible for our own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. We are only responsible for our perceptions and our own experiences.
I, like most people, enjoy being right. But, being right does not guarantee happiness. To want to be right is black and white thinking: a person is either right or wrong there is no in-between, no gray area. Happiness lives within the gray area. To be right is to win, it is a mere perception of control.
The need to control could possibly be an unconscious effort to compensate for feeling out of control. The effort to control will often manifest on a broad spectrum of behaviors: threatening, intimidating, arguing, demanding, asserting, manipulating, steering, suggesting, and persuading and may also include non-verbal gestures like a sigh, a smirk, crossed arms, an eye roll, or “putting the foot down.” When an individual seeks control it is often masked as being right. The effort to achieve control over a situation or person is portrayed as a need to be right and an individual will often believe and act as if they know best, regardless of the situation.
The pattern of behaviors to seek control is often automatic. learning to ask yourself “what” can help increase a person’s insight about why they feel the need to be right.
Being right or being happy? It is a choice. It is possible to be simultaneously right and happy, however, inmost scenarios the goals of being right and being happy are mutually exclusive. The need to be right is the need to control: control people, situations, and outcomes. Happiness is related to life satisfaction, appreciation, pleasurable moments, and positive experiences. Happiness is being content, it is a state of mind, and it can be achieved when a person feels satisfied and fulfilled. When life is just as it should be.
The need to be right can be one of the most major obstacles in your life and relationships. When the choice to be happy is priority, the mind becomes more open to different perspectives. Making a commitment to be happy is making a commitment to yourself to feel good and to live a fulfilling and satisfied life. 35,000 decisions a day: would you rather be right or be happy?
Rachel Velishek is a licensed professional clinical counselor with Fisher-Titus Behavioral Health, Fisher-Titus Medical Park 2, Suite C, 282 Benedict Ave., Norwalk. Her office can be reached at 419-668-0311. For more information on Fisher-Titus Behavioral Health, visit fishertitus.org/behavioral-health.