Is it better to be right if the cost of being right is hurting a loved one or your relationship?
At the risk of sounding like I’m waffling on this, my answer is: “It depends.”
If I am truly right, and I’m standing up for myself in the process – and it’s a matter of self-respect – then I will assert myself and stand by my correctness in the verbal dispute with a loved one. Because ultimately, you have to love and respect yourself. Example: Try to order me around, and we’re gonna go to battle, darling!
However, if I am squabbling with my boyfriend about something so insignificant and meaningless – like who put the empty milk container back into the refrigerator instead of throwing the container out (my goodness! The trash bin is less than five feet away from the fridge! Really? Just sayin’ …) – and the squabble turns into an ugly yelling match with hurt feelings and character assassinations, then I don’t need to be right. Even if I am right. I mean, just between you and me.
Whether it’s family, a friendship, or a romantic relationship, what’s needed is mutual love and respect. And a little peace in the home after a hard day at work goes a long way. So, if it’s not a serious issue, why not ease up on the “I’m right!” card? Instead, go for the “Ok, let’s both agree not to let this happen again (or I’ll put a nanny cam in this kitchen and catch you red-handed … – Uh, ok, forget that second part).
Try to be part of the solution instead of playing the blame-game. And, instead of letting a squabble escalate into an exchange of words that you can’t take back, follow the sentiment of the old saying “Pick your battles.” It’s an oldie but goodie, as far as sayings go.
It’s not only the hateful words and the laser-beam looks exchanged during a heated argument. It’s also the after-effect. Those hard feelings stick around, subconsciously festering. And festering. And festering. Until …. All hell breaks loose! I don’t mean physical violence – let’s hope it never comes to that. In that instance, physically getting out of that situation safely and getting help is most important.
But I am talking about the verbal argument of all arguments. There may be some verbal abuse, and that doesn’t feel good. So, that’s why I say: If it’s not a huge issue, say what you need to say to keep the peace in your life. Yes, in some cases (not all cases, though) that may include saying you’re sorry for what you’ve been accused of doing or not doing.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “This is dishonest.” OK. You’re thinking “There’s no way I’m doing that, under any circumstances.” Okay. You’re thinking “What a phony!” (now, that’s just plain ol’ mean! Don’t go there …)
Let me tell you what it is. It’s keeping the peace. It’s putting someone else’s feelings above your desire to be right. But guess what? You can still be right, and still avoid making a loved one feel bad. And avoid having a tiff blow up into a big argument. In those small squabbles, sometimes it’s enough for you to know you’re right without lording that over your loved one.
Aww, c’mon! You know I’m right! Hey, wait just one minute there …
Sigh … pick your battles, Lula. Pick your battles.