Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Would You Rather Be Right or Be Happy???

I have a nine-year-old son. Some would say that's all that need be said, but I feel the need to expound. He has developed this habit of contradicting anything and everything that his younger brother says. If S-- says that the sky is blue, A-- will say, "Well, actually it's not blue. At least it's not always blue. It's blue most of the time, but not all the time. So it's not actually blue but ......," and it goes on and on and on.

Each night at dinner, we have to listen to A-- argue every word that comes from S--'s mouth. Sometimes he argues with me or his dad. When Phil has had enough, he will stop A-- and lecture him on the need for this arguing to stop. Inevitably, A-- insists that he has only one more thing to say, but it's always the same point he's been arguing for the last ten minutes. (I find it funny, though, when he makes statements, presented as factual of course, that are completely wrong.) He seems to have this intense need to be right about everything.

I understand exactly what my son is doing because I remember doing it myself. I have always had this intense need for accuracy. I don't like ambeguities or inaccuracies. I used to interrupt stories being told if the person telling the tale left out or twisted what I felt was an important detail. It's a bad habit that I've worked on for years. I finally came to realize that my "perceptions" of the truth may not be the truth for someone else.

A few years ago, a very wise friend asked my husband a question that has become a catch phrase for us: "Would you rather be right or would you rather be happy?" Yes, you might be absolutely correct about something, but is it more important to establish your position when it will cause contention and anger or is it more important to create peace and happiness? It's all about picking your battles.


compulsive writer said...

That reminds me of this lovey dovey young couple who lived in our basement when we were first married. I never knew anyone with more (gag me) terms of endearment in their vocabularies...but my favorite was when either one of them would simply say, "Yes, dear." They explained that "Yes, dear" is code for "I'm right and you're wrong and I know it, but I really don't want to fight about it anymore." It's a wonderful way to be right and happy--and that suits my genetic need to be both just fine.

Kactiguy said...

I would love to comment on this but I fear you might interupt me to tell me I've left out an important detail.

Julie said...

You left out TWO important details: the comma before "but" and the second "r" in "interrupt." (HA!)

Lorien said...

and YOU misspelled 'ambiguity.' ha HA!

I'm always happy BECAUSE I'm always right.


Julie said...

Too-shay, Lorien, too-shay! Phil is flabbergasted that I misspelled AMbiguities, as am I. However, my muliebral warmth and innate charm will win me forgiveness from my editorial friends, right?

compulsive writer said...

Spell check makes us all complacent, Julie, of course you're forgiven.

Julie said...

Thanks, Dalene. I feel so much better.

Kactiguy said...

Great! Everybody feels better, but I'm the one with the stupid misplaced comma and the "r".
Wanna know how I stay happy? I just keep letting Lorien think she's right. Seems to work.

Julie said...

Ka-ching! You've just proven my whole point, Guy. Lorien is right AND happy and you're just happy, right?

Lorien said...

Julie, I've told you before that I'm uncomfortable with that "muliebral" word.

And Guy--yes, dear.

Julie said...

In regards to my word choice, check out this link:

Regardless of her use of your least favorite word, she makes some good points about writing. Given my former occupation as a word smith, I was intrigued and mildly amused.

compulsive writer said...

Great column.
Your paronomastic friend

p.s. You have got to start reading those Jasper Fforde books! I'm deep into the second, "Lost in a Good Book" and it's even better than the first. (But do read the first first, so you will have a deeper appreciation for the characters and their compromised situations in book 2.)

Lessel Peeper said...

As a victim in the "my sister is always right" saga, I must agree...even if it's only to avoid another beating.

Early in our marriage, my wife and I were at odds on some trivial issue. In the end, I was right (hold the applause) but I made her feel stupid and embarassed. In short, I was an ass.

Well, I'm still an ass (as Julie will likely testify), but I have been much more selective in my battles and more careful in how I approach disagreements with my wife.

My wife isn't always right, but neither am I.