There is a song by Michael Franks that makes me smile every time I hear it on the radio. It’s called, “I’d Rather Be Happy than Right.” Years ago, I was talking to a friend about his marital problems. He just couldn’t get past the feeling that he was right and his wife was wrong in a variety of problem areas.
I asked him the simple question, “Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?”
“Well, both!” he answered.
“That would be ideal, but people have different points of view. What is right to you might not be right to her,” I offered.
The question of happy or right it one that I have struggled with myself in the past. I found that when confronted with a problem, argument, or disagreement, if I ask this question, often I will choose to bite my tongue and opt for happy.
What do I have to gain from being right, besides a temporary ego boost. Shouldn’t I be thinking about the long term? Isn’t that what relationships are about?
In the self-justification world, the most dangerous word we can use is “but.” I agree, but, you said. You’re right, but, you are a jerk. I could forgive you, but, it has happened too many times.
If we can let go of this righteous indignation, forget the buts, then we have an opportunity to find happiness.
‘You will not be punished for your anger. You will be punished by your anger.’ the Buddha
Today, our culture is fixated of right and wrong. Everything is black or white. Republican vs. Democrat, Liberal vs. Conservative, Pro Life vs. Pro Aborts, gay marriage vs. traditional marriage; there seems to be no place for a middle ground, compromise, or even a recognition that not everyone can be right. There is no discussion, no one can make a point, and no one EVER changes their mind.
I am not saying that we have to give up or compromise our position on issues. But, we have to realize that not everyone thinks alike. We judge people, and often reject them, before we have had a chance to hear their opinion.
When it comes down to choosing between right and happy, from now on, I choose happy!