The book aside...You know how you hear or think something and then your mind wanders and all of a sudden you find yourself thinking on something that really has nothing to do with what you first heard or thought?! Well, I had one of those moments (many of them I am sure) on the mountain this morning. The one that has stuck with me is about a concept I have heard called "the need to be right".
"The need to be right" is a common phenomenon that each and every person practices from when they are a child. Whether it is a learned or innate behavior I am going to leave out of this blog. What I am most interested in blogging about is how this "need to be right" affects our relationships.
First let me explain what I understand "the need to be right" is all about. Throughout our lives we have experiences from which we develop stories. These stories make up our storybook for our lives by which we think, speak, hear and act from. That storybook affects everything from what job we chose, what we enjoy doing in our spare time and even the spouse we chose. We subconsciously act out those stories in our life time and time again. At least the storyline is the same. The characters and settings just look different. We take with us the storybook to each new scene in our life.
A lot of the stories are learned very early on from other storytellers in our lives, like our parents and our teachers. And then over time we look and find evidence to support our stories. Because we want to believe our stories are right.
Let me give you an example. In my relationship with my boyfriend there is a certain way that he washes his clothes and there is a certain way I wash mine. The story that he has about his washing is that 'all whites should be washed in hot water'. When he means 'whites' he means 'underwear'. It took me a while to figure that one out because not all his underwear is white! You can see already how our stories can play a part in our relationships with others, right?! 'Whites' to me means anything white. Why is that so important? Because my story is that I want my white clothes to stay white. So, I don't care if my whites are washed in hot or cold or even warm water for that matter! I just want my white clothes to be washed together so that they stay that way.. white! On the flipside, he wants his 'whites' (which aren't all white, by the way.. oh! that's right, I already mentioned that!) to be washed in hot water so that all the germs are killed. Doesn't sound like such a big deal, right?! Wrong.
When I first discovered the story that he had about his washing technique and how his story didn't match mine I immediately thought "Well, that makes no sense at all. Why on earth would ANYONE wash their 'whites' that are not all white, together?! Certainly don't call it a white wash! They are NOT all white!" Of course I bet I could find a bunch of other people to agree with how right I was too!
Over time whenever I would do the washing I would be sure to do his washing his way. What is amazing though is how long it has taken me to figure out his way of washing. (He has some other systems as well that I had to add to the mix of the 'whites' system) The confusion I was in was because at some level I was still hanging onto my story of how the washing should look and therefore I was 'needing to be right'. Just like in the beginning when he would explain his system for washing his clothes. I thought he was half crazy because the way he did his washing didn't match the way I had been doing it for years. His story didn't match my story. So, who was right and who was wrong?! Of course you know I was right!
If "the need to be right" about something as simple as washing clothes can be what can cause a rift, and it has on occasions, then where else is my relationships with others is my "needing to be right" getting in the way?
Consciously aware of it or not when we are in 'needing to be right' mode we are committed to one thing.... "needing to be right'. We find ourselves become like a whole other person. Sometimes a very scary, crazy person who resorts to behaviors such as anger, including yelling and or swearing. We can sometimes be argumentative or even manipulative. The behavior is different for each person. The behavior, however, is not the issue. The issue is a person's 'need to be right'.
It leaves us in a state of being completely unreasonable and our commitment to 'being right' is more important to us than our relationships. The most frightening things is that we don't even see how we are 'being' in those moments. All we see is how we NEED to be RIGHT! Then we start to make up other stories about how this other person is lazy, rude, a bad husband.
This is all touching on why we don't have the relationships we say we want.
Well....I am sure I could write about this topic all day! Given this is a blog and you actually have other things you want to get done today, I am going to end this here. I might pick it up again another week. If you have any thoughts or questions let me know. You can leave a comment or question above this blog where it says "comments".
Challenge: Become conscious in your day today and look to see if when you are interacting with people you are 'needing to be right'.
I love you all. Have a fabulous day and own your greatness, you deserve it!