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Let’s face it – most of us feel justified in our opinions and beliefs, faulty or not.
We worry more about being right than in preserving the integrity of a relationship.
We’re quick to point out the speck in another’s eye, not noticing the plank lodged in our own.
Which can only mean one thing – we value our rightness over the quality of our relationships. This is reflected in our actions.
If we want to create amazing relationships, first, we need to drop our need to be right about everything.
“They’re the Ones Doing it Wrong”
Our obsession with right and wrong is misplaced. We often fail to recognize that our thoughts or feelings are a value or qualitative judgment, not an objective reality.
We see someone eating a McDonald’s burger for lunch, and say, that’s “wrong.”
No, it’s not wrong. It may not be the healthiest choice. It may not be made of the freshest, high-quality ingredients available. But it’s a valid choice, given that McDonald’s locations are everywhere, and as a culture, we’ve embraced it.
You may not value McDonald’s or making unhealthy choices in general. But that doesn’t make the choice “wrong.”
The reason you feel so guilty when you fail to live up to your own standards, is because you’ve labelled something “wrong” in the first place. This implies that in every situation there’s always a right and a wrong, and that restricts you to a set of actions and behaviors that will either leave you feeling like a Rockstar or a complete loser.
You set your own rules in life, and if you’re not doing this consciously, you’re setting yourself up to lose more often than you care to admit.
Whenever you are triggered, the offense lies with you, not with another. You allowed someone else’s words or actions dictate your mood or emotions. You gave your power over to them.
Your Resentments Are Yours
Your resentments are your own. You cannot, and should not, hold anyone else responsible for the offense you’ve felt.
What most of us do is try to pin someone else’s words or actions to their character, when all this amounts to is confirmation bias. You saw someone in a specific situation act consistently in a certain way several times, so you assume that this is who they are. You’ve got these habits tied to their identity, so you resort to attacking their identity as well.
But who among us can say we’ve never misspoken? Who among us can say we’ve always chosen the best course of action? No one.
Yes, one’s character reflects the words and actions they’ve chosen consistently over time, but that doesn’t automatically make someone a certain way, rigid and inflexible.
People do change and are typically wildly inconsistent unless especially disciplined or presented with a set of circumstances that forces them to be.
Moreover, if someone consistently chooses a specific action in a specific circumstance, who’s to say they aren’t making the choice they want to make? Who’s to say they aren’t making the best choice they know to make? Who’s to say their choice is “wrong?”
We assume too much and ask too little. We judge too much and listen too little. We attack too much and praise too little.
If you want to see someone rise to new levels, talk about the amazing potential and future you see for them, not the “flaws” you wish they would correct.
Unexpressed Expectations Are Premeditated Resentment
Resentment builds up because we refuse to cause completion in our lives.
We refuse to cause completion in our lives because we were never taught how and don’t have the skills necessary to do it in a way that respects and honors others. So, it feels too risky. Too scary. Too confrontational.
Again, your resentment is your own. You must take ownership of your own feelings if you want to come out of an argument better off. If you care about the integrity of the relationship, you won’t argue to be right, you will argue for actions and structures that make the relationship better.
Don’t hold onto unexpressed expectations. Expectations not expressed quickly turn into resentment. How do you know your expectations are unexpressed? The words never left your mouth.
When you’re looking to cause completion, don’t accuse another of something that offended you. Instead say, “When you said X, it made me feel Y, and I take ownership for making Y mean Z.”
If you can say this and mean it, you’ll have successfully put the onus on yourself instead of outsourcing your emotional responsibility to another. Remember – your emotions are not their responsibility. Offense originated with you.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff (& it’s All Small Stuff)
What good does it do to argue over things that are of little consequence?
Most people feel entitled, and even qualified to point out another’s flaw. This doesn’t just leave them blind to their own shortcomings – it’s also another way of shirking responsibility. If you’re seeing something in another person, and it annoys you, the truth is, it’s something that annoys you about yourself too.
Can you honestly say that arguing over who picked up the bill, who farted, or who went digging for gold in their nose is going to make one bit of difference a year from now?
I can assure you it won’t, but this is exactly the type of hollow sh*t people argue endlessly over.
People sometimes call me “passive,” but the truth is I’ve learned to let go of things I know won’t make one iota of difference a day, a week, a month, a year, a decade from now.
Picking my battles means putting my energies toward things that will move the needle in my life:
- My spirituality
- My health
- My business, investments, and financial wellbeing
- My family
- My friendships
- My relationship
These things are worth giving 100% to. Whether or not someone cut me off on the road today will be quickly forgotten and will not matter one bit in day, let alone a few hours.
I will have more of myself to give to the things that matter if I don’t spend so much time and energy on petty nonsense that doesn’t enrich my life.
We’ve all argued over stupid sh*t. It would be silly to think we haven’t.
The trick is to pick your battles. Fight for the things that matter to you in life. Not for the privilege of being right.
Think of it this way – the more you insist on being right, the more you’re probably hurting others and your relationship to them.
- What are you willing to drop or give up?
- Are you taking ownership of your own offense and resentment?
- Do you have the skills necessary to cause completion in your life instead of carrying unnecessary baggage for years and decades?
- What is worth fighting for in your life?
Thanks for reading, champ!
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