March 14, 2011

Being Right vs. Being Happy: Which One Do You Prefer to Be?

Why being right does not always mean being happy.

According to the Course in Miracles, most people would rather be right than be happy. Sounds kind of odd but if you watch human behavior enough, you start to realize that there is some merit in that observation/statement. Let me explain.

The beauty of the human experience is that we each have a view of life that is uniquely our own. Two people can experience the same event and yet be impacted in very different ways. Every experience that we ever had has culminated in the beliefs that we hold at this exact moment in time.

If you happen to believe in reincarnation, then our views are the sum total of all our experiences from all our lifetimes. As a result, each person is unique in how they view the world.

Yet despite our inherent uniqueness, we all struggle with the same things. We all want to be loved, we all want to give love, we all want to be financially secure, we all want shelter and so on.

Even though we share many similarities in our desires, we each have a view of the world that cannot really be imposed on another person. Each person believes what they believe based on what they deem is “right”. It took me a long time to reach the point where I could talk to a person with opposite political views and not think that they were an idiot.

It could be argued that certain things are without doubt “wrong” and that is true to a certain degree. Sometimes we are so passionate about what we believe, it is hard to realize that we just cannot make someone see things as we see them.

For example, I am of the firm belief that all religions are equal. It is really hard for me to think that one road to Divinity is superior to another. Not everyone agrees with me and I have had some people call me all kinds of things as a result.

At first, this bothered me but then I realized that it is not my job to go around fixing everyone and making them see the world as I see it. Does this mean that my view is wrong? No. It is just my view and it is what feels right to me based on my experience and studies. Do I think other people are wrong if they disagree? No. Everyone is entitled to think what they feel is right.

By the way, it is also important to note that the more unhappy I was, the more I wanted to make people see the world as I did. However, the happier I became, the less I cared if someone saw life as I did. This took a long time to accomplish and I still could be much better at it.

We all want to be valued and we all want our views to be supported. There is nothing wrong with that. Sometimes we learn the most when we talk to people who see life differently than we do.

Just because someone disagrees with us does not mean that we are wrong or unworthy. It just simply means that another person does not look at life as we do. It is nothing personal…it is just life.

Intellectual debate can be a wonderful tool if the intention is solely to inform one another about all the possibilities that exist and to hopefully find a common ground in which to solve a particular problem or issue. But what often happens is that one person wants the other to see things as they see it and not even consider that the opposing side may have a good point of their own on some level.

To concede that our “opponent” may have a point is not weakness or a lack of confidence. If anything, it is a sign of strength and innate security. None of us knows all the answers and to think that we do is just plain ignorance and arrogance.

We live in an era where so much is happening that it is understandable why so many people are angry. I get that. Our world is a mess and it is heart breaking. However, in order for any really positive change to occur, we need to let go of our obsession with being right and just find a way to have a genuine dialogue in the hopes that the result will be all of us getting along.

In the long run we will be happier and ultimately, regardless of what makes us different, what we all want is happiness. And if you think that is some idealistic pipedream…you may be right but then again…who cares…I am happy.

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