The being right issue raises, in addition to questions, self doubt! Self-doubt is not particularly helpful. But self-examination is priceless. Consequently if you are wondering even more about your need to be right and your declaration of such “rightness” — regardless of the issue you are confronting, consider this. The need to be right is connected to the need to control – and to BE IN CONTROL. Feeling in control feels safe. At least to most of us. And as I’ve said, it’s not actually possible anyway. And it’s addictive. And it causes unnecessary conflict in almost every relationship you are in. Being IN CONTROL means holding on. Being IN CHARGE MEANS letting go…thus the reason it’s so different, feels so good once you learn it, and changes your view of yourself, the person you are in conflict with, and your view of a path forward. NOW feels better.
But if you are clinging to the belief that RIGHT is good and that you indeed are not a “control freak,” consider this example: a relatively self aware and assertive woman asks her husband for a ride to the airport. She lets him know in advance: it’s a week from now and a 7:00 a.m. flight so it means really early departure. She outlines the details and waits for an answer. He says yes. This relatively self aware and assertive woman just got a positive reply to her request and you might thus expect her to get on with her day. But she makes an interesting “discovery.” She DID NOT LIKE THE WAY HE SAID YES…… He signed, his voice tone had that “odd negative ring,” he kind of muttered something unintelligible under his breath, demonstrated negative facial expressions and body language. So she began to “orchestrate” the trip to the airport: “You don’t have to set your alarm…I’ll wake you at the last possible minute, the coffee will be made, I’ll drive, and on the way home you can stop at your favorite breakfast place and get a New York Times…” In other words, she’s saying “won’t this be fun?” Eventually she drops the subject because she has to get to work …besides he DID agree to take her. Then over the weekend, in the middle of a pleasant conversation, she asks, “How are you feeling about taking me to the airport this coming week?”
WHAT is going on here? And do you identify with the story? Or do you find it ridiculous? Or somewhere in between? The answers are both simple and complex. The majority of women seed connection in their relationships — whether it’s a spouse/partner, family member, work associate, most women want to feel connected. Conflict and differences in general “shake” that feeling of connection — you feel, instead, a gap in the connection. The gap is followed by a feeling of being a bit out of control and that equals an effort to regain control — or a belief that connection has been achieved – again …And if the need to control, to end up feeling you are RIGHT, you may be willing to cover up the conflict in the interaction — rather than surface it. Thus the “orchestrating” — trying to turn a favor of a drive to the airport into a “fun adventure?”
The underlying issue is: she was not looking for a simple ride to the airport. She wanted her husband to: 1-AGREE to go; 2- WANT to go; and 3-HAVE FUN ON THE WAY!! More generally, THINK WHAT I THINK, FEEL WHAT I FEEL, AND DO IT THE WAY I WOULD DO IT. Therein lies the psychological trap.
Almost no one thinks and feels what you do AND wants to do it the way you do. You might get one of those once in a while — if lucky, two. But all three? Hard! What kept the woman in the story from taking the ride and allowing her husband to feel grumpy — even put upon — but still willing? The feeling of disconnect…of being out of control … and of being denied the RIGHTNESS of her request …It’s a deep hole….one every woman needs to dig herself out of….
So see if the concept feels applicable to any argument/disagreement/conflict you encounter. Or to any of the major issues facing women in our country right now where a deep divide sometimes comes into play…. And experiment with letting go and allowing the other person to think, feel, do what he/she wants. How does it feel to let go?