You can be right or you can be happy.
Sometimes being right and being happy is mutually exclusive, so which choice is right for you?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. I was in an emotionally hot situation where I knew I was ‘right’ but I chose to walk away from it because I wanted to be happy instead. It took a while to get to get to that decision. Here’s how it all unfolded…
Those of you who know me know I’m all about creating freedom & joy and creating is a really important word for me. I aim to live in a state of creation rather than reaction. It’s the way I create the life of freedom & joy I want. So, every time I’m in a situation I like to think
What am I trying to create here?
In this particular situation I have my big creative idea already; an easy and frictionless relationship. But, my oh my, how easily that went out the window when ‘right’ came into play!
Why being right is so tempting
We all have an innate sense of justice, right and wrong. It’s the heart of our moral compass. It’s how we make decisions and it directs our behaviour. This means it’s very powerful. When we feel right we feel we have a right. A right to take the high ground and have everyone accept our judgement.
Only, we all have a unique moral compass. This means we get in a bother about who is really right, you or me? Of course it’s me, stupid!
When we feel wronged it goes deep. It strikes at the heart of our own worth and the defences jump up. It’s another strong emotional reaction and we can be in defence mode for ages before we even realise it. Sometimes defence is detachment, shouting, crying, logic or any number of different things.
These big emotional feelings have power and they feel so right, so us. You can see why they are so tempting.
Why is being happy different?
Being happy, for me, means being happy with your actions and feelings no matter what the other person believes. Being happy is being content with your personal outcome not what you can make others do or think.
We can’t control or change other people, only ourselves. That’s what we need to be happy with, not other’s perceptions of us.
Does it really matter, that outcome of right? Does it really matter if you convince your partner you booked the table at 7pm not 8pm? Or does it matter that you have a great night out? Which brings me to…
Keep your eye on the prize
I struggled a bit this week with walking away from my situation. It made me feel like a doormat, like I was being taken for a ride. My hot emotions rose up and, like any hormonal & chemical reaction, it took time for it to leave my body. During that time I was upset, angry, hurt and critical or myself.
What really helped me was keeping my eye om the prize. Keeping in mind that what I really wanted, over all, long term, was a frictionless relationship. Getting caught up in reaction over this situation was only going to give me the opposite – more emotional entanglement, more stress.
So, as well as the support of my friends, sounding out my decision-making process and recognising the chemical reaction my body was having, this big creative idea was my anchor.
I resolved myself to continuing to create that easy relationship, that was my big prize. That meant I could decide to walk away with no negative feelings, I could let it go.
I realised that feeling like a doormat was my own perception and if I chose not to care then how could I feel like one? I forgave myself for the blip and I recommitted.
The life lesson?
Today I feel a bit tired but also super grateful for this life lesson. My friend calls them a masterclass and she is so right. This was a masterclass in staying in creation. This was a masterclass in creating what I needed. This was a masterclass in anchoring myself to my real lifegoals.
So, which do you choose? To be right or to be happy? Maybe when we are all truly happy then we will all feel totally right?
If you want to create more freedom & joy in your life, then join me for a 4 week kick starter course. It’s online and works around your life. Tickets are o sale now, we start on April 22nd!
Kelly Herrick is a creator & collaborator who helps people access more freedom & joy. She is also the strategic lead in an international design agency, a painter and mum of two boys.