Tag Archives: self-righteousness

Would You Rather Be Right, Or Would You Rather Be Happy?

by Bill

An overpowering need to be right is born of perfectionism, pride and fear. Some people would risk a relationship, rather than admitting they were wrong, or that someonesoap else’s point of view might be valid – at least for that person. Those of us who carry around that character defect – and the writer is most assuredly in recovery from know-it-all-ism – are often (or often have been) so unable to admit that there are two sides to most things that we have been willing even to alienate loved ones: We’d rather be right than loved.

Without getting into the pathology of overbearing parents who expected too much and all the other developmental nightmares, let’s just say that always having to impress our opinions and facts on others is pathological. It is self-righteousness in disguise, and stems from a deep-seated feeling of inadequacy that causes us to want to prove to ourselves that we’re one up on everyone else. (No one else cares!) “Standing up for our principles” is, in reality, simple mental and emotional inflexibility. There are always two points of view to any discussion, and I suspect that people who are unwilling to listen to others’ positions really don’t understand the issue well enough to have strong opinions about the accuracy of their beliefs.  Because this shortcoming bears so directly on our low self-esteem, it’s hard to admit and harder to let go.

And that’s a shame, because it’s such a relief to let go…to learn where others are coming from and why, and to appreciate the ideas that we share, rather than emphasizing the differences. Keeping an open mind, hearing the “other side’s” rationale, accepting their right to hold opinions and the fact – OMG! – that whether we like it or not, there’s a good chance that many if not all of them are valid, to not insist on being right, brings us closer to others and expands the human spirits that we are reclaiming in our recovery.

CHILDREN AS OUR TEACHERS

Children not only know how to forgive, they also know that enjoying times with their friends is a top priority. The longer they waste fighting, the less time they have for fun…and they are all about having fun. Seems like a pretty simple equation to me.

Why then do adults have such a hard time forgiving and moving on? It seems that as adults, we want to make sure our partner knows s/he was wrong, that we were right, and then we want our partners to wallow in the mistake. If that mistake at all hurt us, we want our partners to feel that same pain.

Straight Talk On Relationships: CHILDREN AS OUR TEACHERS: CHOOSING HAPPINESS OVER SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS