Would you rather feel good or be right?
This morning my kids are at each other again. They agree to play plastic animals, but one would like to introduce a single Lego man into the game. He sees nothing wrong as the Lego man is also plastic. His sister won’t allow this ‘cause “Lego is Lego and were playing plastic animals now!”. They’re onto each other like two knights of the same castle – in a way that nobody could possibly win. Both relentless. They get more and more angry and self-indulged as each try to convince the other of their point of view. The more they argue the less either is willing to give in. Each state their case with conviction and aggression. Hearts are hardening and anger grows.
The third child (their other brother) who is happy to play either way, sits alone and sad, waiting for the other two to sort out their madness so they can play. At the end of the ordeal, the game is abandoned. Nobody wants to give in and nobody wants to play anymore because of the anger and negativity. It is a sad ending, especially for the unintended victim. It is like a rope bridge over a big river with two people on it, blocking the way for everyone else. The bridge is only wide enough for one, so someone must give way but nobody does. At the end everybody loses as nobody’s able to move across the river.
How does this often turn out in real life? What happens when we are relentless in insisting on being right? We force our thoughts and ways and points of view onto the other person, completely convinced of how right we are and how wrong they are. But where does it leave us? It leaves us feeling isolated and alone, feeling guilty of the hurt we produced. We have violated trust, created sadness and have driven someone away from us. They may have eventually backed off and given in, but it is at a great expense. It may have cost us a relationship.
How does that make us feel? Was it worth it? What did we gain by being right? Did it add value to our or the life of the other person? Are we in a better place now because of insisting to be right?
Is it not sometimes better to feel good than to be right?