Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Right vs. Happy

Would you rather be right or happy?
I know for many people this question will sound rather stupid.
(If it doesn’t sound stupid and actually it makes sense to you, you must be a married person.)
But the question doesn’t only apply to married couples; it is a question we face in all relationships, personal or business.

The status quo answer to that question is that we would rather be right – no matter the cost.
Having it “our way” it is a matter of principles and if “they” do not understand that we are “right” it is our duty to shove it down their throat.
Defending our position and opinions it is as American as freedom and apple pie.

But this is not always the case.
Take for example “dating”.

When we are dating a person our state of mind is not to have it “my way” but rather the other way around.
You could be a football fanatic but if the girl you love asks you to go to an opera or ballet instead, you would gladly ditch your football friends and you favorite team just to be with the one you love.
Same thing goes for her. She might think football is a stupid waste of time, but if she really loves him she will go to a football game and enjoy it too.

This might sound like a non genuine behavior, a trickery, a deceit to get you in good favors with the other person but people that have been truly in love know that that is not the case.
When you love someone you really want to make them happy and all compromises and sacrifices you make come naturally.
It is not anymore about being “right” or having it “your way”, it is about making the other person happy and being happy about them being happy.

Of course that quickly disappears when the relationship becomes official.
Once married we stop trying to make the other person happy and start fighting for what is “right”.
We don’t want it “their way” we want it “our way” and of course we are ready to battle for what we believe it is “right”.
The result: Bad relationships.

And that my friends it is the way things are.
We live in a world divided between “right” and “wrong”.
On one side we have the republicans on the other the democrats.
The religious people vs. the scientific community.
The pro life vs. the pro choice.
The environmentalist vs. the industrialists.
Us vs. them.
Of course “we” are always right and “they” are always wrong.

So are you ready to battle for that or would you rather be happy?


Lydia said...

Great question. Truthfully, I have grown weary from battling for what I think is right. It hasn't made me happy. This does not mean that I won't continue to fight what I consider is the good fight, but I have learned to keep the venom diluted. Everything is so toxic these days, as you pointed out--so many factions to line up behind. I select more carefully now than I used to what I will fight for. I would be unhappy with myself if I didn't do that, although, as I said, I also do not expect to be happy simply because I fight for my principles.

Quantum_Flux said...

Not saying anything doesn't necessarily make us wrong either, however the right thing eventually will come out no matter how hard we try to suppress it. A lot of that battle can be eliminated by finding the right girl in the first place....I know what you're going to say BOH, no girl is right, but that's actually where I think you're probably wrong. Hey, people come in all different varieties, and if you aren't finding the variety that works best then you're probably hanging around the wrong places.

Ted Bagley said...

Sometimes it's right to be the best thing sometime, then, is to be happy with being unhappy. :)

Zuzanna Musial said...

Great post Boh!

I'd rather be HAPPY, thank you for sharing the thought provoking post.


Quantum_Flux said...

Of course, it's somewhat of a religious (buddhist?) strawman to assume somebody can't be simultaneously both happy and right. As an athiest, for instance, I do not see any reason why people can't be both right and happy.

Flight said...

Sorry Buddha, but when you truly love someone , their happiness is what matters most to you. When they are happy then you are happy. As long as they aren't your only source of happiness.

Poetic Shutterbug said...

Being happy is most important and that sometimes means shedding your ego and not having to be right.

Grampa Ken on change said...

Many difficulties in a relationship or marriage can be a non-issue by simply accepting the other's personal ideas or habits. By not putting all that effort in trying to change the other person, the issues over time become insignificant.

Joseph Addison (1672-1719) put it quite nicely this way: “Two persons who have chosen each other out of all the species with a design to be each other’s mutual comfort and entertainment have, in that action, bound themselves to be good-humored, affable, discreet, forgiving, patient, and joyful, with respect to each other’s frailties and perfections, to the end of their lives.”

Descartes said...

I have been working on that whole choosing happiness thing here lately. Odd how much of the world is filtered through our own sense of right and wrong-as you say-so many us vs them out there.

I have always been a big fan of Jimmy Stewart's character in Harvey:

Years ago my mother used to say to me, she'd say, "In this world, Elwood, you must be" - she always called me Elwood - "In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant." Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

Your opening line reminded me of something from the hitch-hikers guide to the galaxy where Slartibartfast (designer of Norway) states the same thing. When asked if he actually is - he says no!

I can't entirely agree with your comments about the desire to please and make others happy dies when you marry. i think there are always compromises and times when we are selfish regardless of our status - but like: with my partner we are quite divided over the kind of films we like, so i just wait until she is out working to watch them...and i make allowances for her when she is tired and irritable because surely that's what love is? accepting people for who they are, not who you think they should be.

Quantum_Flux said...

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