There was a time, a big chunk of my life actually, when I was angry as hell! I can’t pinpoint the exact cause of this anger, my life wasn’t that bad compared to most, but I was mean! Unfortunately for those around me, this anger came with an obsession to be right.
I had to be right at all costs; nobody could outdo me in an argument. I would battle to the end, and I would never give up! Losing an argument was just not an option. In fact, if a fight wasn’t resolved before I went to sleep, I would start it back up first thing in the morning. I would lose a ton of sleep too, going over my strategy in my head the night before, while playing out the next day’s argument in detail (as if I knew exactly how it would all play out). I was pretty confident in my arguing skills, and I was proud.
They say that underneath most anger there is either fear or sadness. I wasn’t interested in feeling either, thank you very much. The arguments were a source of power for me. The adrenalin would soar. I would feel a ton of energy and it made me feel invincible. And then shortly after, I would crash (just like eating sugar, which I also did frequently). I was destroying all of my relationships, of course, but I felt strong and powerful. Convincing the other person that I was right was all that mattered to me!
Then one day something shifted. I was arguing with somebody and I actually conceded and let them win! I didn’t have the energy to fight back.
What was happening to me?
I suddenly noticed that I felt a lot less stressed. I hadn’t used my entire day’s bank of energy to fight back, I had energy to spare and I avoided that big crash too! I shook my head and thought to myself “was being right worth all of the energy I expended on it?” I didn’t want to have to give up my reign as “the rightest person ever”, but I also didn’t want to live my life exhausted by all the mood fluctuations.
I decided to do one of my social experiments because I needed some cold hard statistics; I am a Capricorn after all. I needed to know if being right was worth destroying relationships and exhausting my energy by noon each day. Believe it or not, this was a hard decision at that moment in my life. I had many opportunities to fight, sometimes I did, and sometimes I didn’t, and what I gleaned from my research was a resounding “NO!” Being right was not worth the fall out at all.
I know to some, this is obvious, but to me it wasn’t until this point. It felt so important to me to be right for so long, nobody could have convinced me otherwise. It was so much a part of my identity. Even if somebody else was right, I couldn’t hear their side or even consider it. The only thing that mattered to me was being right. Little did I know, it only made me and the people in my life suffer.
Finally it dawned on me that having peace in my relationships meant so much more than being right, and it gave me the space to pause, breathe and focus on the other person’s viewpoint. I could look in their eyes and hear what they were saying, and I no longer felt the need to be right or even to get my viewpoint across. My life became so much more peaceful and my relationships became stronger. I no longer have that drive to be right, it simply doesn’t mean anything to me anymore.
Don’t get me wrong though, I don’t let the people in my life walk all over me, I just take more time to listen and understand the world through their viewfinder, and breathe.