Give up all bad qualities in you, banish the ego and develop the spirit of surrender. You will then experience Bliss. ~ Sri Sathya Sai Baba (Indian Spiritual leader)
I consider myself a nice person for the most part. What’s the other part? When I know for a fact that I am right, my gut reaction is to prove it to whomever happens to have the bad luck to challenge me. I recall an instance of this happening just the other afternoon. My sweetheart had the misfortune of having his car caught in a severe hailstorm while we were in Deadwood enjoying the Loretta Lynn concert. The concert made the evening delightful, but the hail did a fair amount of damage to his car. He had an appointment two days ago to get an estimate of the damage done by the hail. After his appointment, he sent me a text. It was a very sweet message: “Hey Honey! I hope your morning is going well. 🙂 My car is going to be $4500 to repair. Taking it in on July 27. They need it for a week.” I remember thinking at the time I read it that it seemed like an awfully long time to wait for repairs, but I knew there were a lot of cars hit by the storm, so didn’t really ponder it much more.
I was lucky enough that day to get to share lunch with him. We talked about the repairs and he mentioned that his car would be going in to the body shop at the end of the following week. I said to this that it was July, not June. He repeated that the repairs were going to be done in June. Immediately my little mind started working and I started thinking that I just KNEW he had said July in his text. Did I shrug my shoulders and let it go? Did I consider that it really wasn’t a big deal whether it was June or July as long as the repairs eventually get done? Nope! Neither of those two “good” options popped into my mind. What I did instead was to walk over to my purse, grab my cell phone, hit the cute little green button with the white text bubble that says “Messages”. After a few more pushes of the button and a little scrolling, there it was, PROOF!!! I was RIGHT!!! Yay! I smugly walked across the floor and stuck the phone up to his face saying something along the lines of “See, I was RIGHT!”. I don’t recall exactly what he said after that, but I’m sure the interchange did not leave him feeling particularly loving towards me. I missed out on an opportunity to continue a pleasant conversation because my ego had to put a stop to the conversation to prove my point.
Upon reflecting, I humbly remember a book I read a while back by Jonathan Robinson, “Communication Miracles For Couples.” This wonderful book contains myriad ideas and tools for building a better relationship, but one chapter comes easily to mind, probably because it is challenging for me and something I need to work on. In this chapter, he asks the question, “Do you want to be right or do you want to be loved?” He talks of how we might actually be correct and may be able to win our side of the argument in a debate, but that by winning, we actually lose. By “defeating” our partner and proving that we are right, we chip away at the relationship and leave that person feeling upset, angry, embarrassed or anything but loving. And, even hearing those magical words, “You’re right.”, though it may make you feel vindicated, does nothing for the relationship. In retrospect, the best thing for me to do would have been to listen to what he was saying and even if I KNEW it was July, I could have finished the conversation and slyly checked my messages later so that I would know for my own peace of mind that I did remember it correctly. 😉
We happen to be embarking on a week-long vacation tomorrow with my three kiddos, my sweetheart and his daughter. I know that there may be one or two moments where I may have to, and hopefully do, bite my tongue and let things go. By doing so, I can do my part to make sure that everyone has a blissful trip that ends too soon and not a miserable one that we want to escape.
Do you have any moments, as I certainly have too many of, that you’d rather not repeat? Why do you suppose the need to be right sometimes trumps our need to be loved?