Conflict Resolution Series: Letting Things Go for a Bigger Purpose
Do you love being right? Are you the sort who watches Jeopardy and literally jumps out of their seat and does the touchdown dance when they get a Double Jeopardy question right? Or is that just certain friends of mine...?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with being right. Being right is a sure sign of intelligence, life experience, and having a big brain. That and $4.55 will get you a tall latte from Starbucks. In most cases, being right is a source of conflict - when being right all the time gets in the way of a bigger purpose.
There isn’t much that is more frustrating than being in relationship with someone who is wrong and refuses to listen to reason. Sitting idly by when your teen insists that they know what they are doing when you clearly know that they do not is maddening. Watching your spouse make a preventable blunder that you’ve warned them not to do can be infuriating. The moment when the truth comes out and you were right all along can feel vindicating, but what happens when the echoes of "I told you so" fade away?
LONG. AWKWARD. SILENCE.
Sometimes being right won’t make things better. Sometimes conflict can be avoided by letting things go for a bigger purpose. While it can be annoying to be right and not be appreciated, it is equally annoying to be wrong and have someone in your face about it all the time.
Here are some of the unexpected benefits of letting things go for a bigger purpose:
People learn through experience more than they do from a warning
People learn to appreciate wisdom by failing after receiving wise counsel
People who learn to let things go tend to be less overbearing
People who learn to let things go have a broader sense that being right doesn’t always matter
If your toddler is trying to walk and consistently won’t let go of the couch despite your knowing they can walk, telling them that they can won’t help them walk. They need to experience letting go and falling. They need to feel the way their toes grip the carpet and their knees bend as they find their balance. You are right, they can walk, but you need to let that go so they can learn on their own.
You may know that your teen is going to get a ticket if they keep parking the wrong way in front of the house. You can nag and cajole them night after night, but the best way for them to understand the reality of what getting a ticket means for their bank account and their driving record is through getting that ticket. Let it go and let them face the natural and logical consequences.
If you happen to be a person who tends to always be right and want to inject your brand of wisdom into every relationship, consider this:
People with a high need to verbalize their rightness are seen as feeling superior and aren’t well received
Individuals and groups need to experience defeat now and again in order to build resilience
Letting things go for a bigger purpose in and of itself is the right thing to do in many situations
Learning to let things go for a bigger purpose is just as much about you as it is about them. Allow others to be able to experience the negative outcomes of their actions and you can sit back and giggle - just keep it to yourself.
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