Dear Integral Meditators,
This weeks article focuses on mindfulness around conversations and arguments. we all know the expression “Do you want to be right or to be happy”, I explore a few of the nuances of this.
This weeks Tuesday & Wednesday meditations are an exploration of this theme in combination with that of ‘engaged equanimity’, you are welcome to join us, either live or online.
And final call for this Saturday morning’s Monthly Qi Gong & Taoist Breathwork Clinic & Mini-retreat, if you haven’t tries it already, you might enjoy it!
In the spirit of the victory of peace,
Peace or victory?
The need to be right
It’s a familiar saying “Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?” Certainly, in inter-relational mindfulness this is an important question. If we can’t be happy until the other person (or everyone!) acknowledges that we are right, then our happiness is going to be disrupted for large sections of our life. The skill here then would seem to be letting go of the need to be right, and choosing to value our peace of mind over ‘rightness’.
The need to be seen to be right
Its an interesting distinction between being right, and being seen to be right. Without the other saying explicitly we are right, often it seems not to be enough just to trust our own judgment assert our position and then leave it at that. Often the need for the approval or affirmation of others means that we can’t rest in peace unless we get it. So, when looking for the peace of being happy rather than right, accepting that we may not get the approval of the person/s we are arguing with would seem to be an important area to be mindful of.
The need for self-trust and sound judgment
If we are going to be focusing on “being happy rather than right” it’s also important to build trust and confidence in yourself, your perception and ability to process the facts of the matter as far as they are available. We need to articulate and hold to our values as well as we can. Being happy doesn’t need to come at the cost of not being able to stick up for our position, and act accordingly. We need to be as objectively ‘right’ as we can in our own judgments, without being addicted to the need for other people to always affirm that position to us.
To be happy to be not understood and seen
If we are not affirmed as right, or even dismissed as wrong in a conversation and we want to be able to retain a degree of inner peace, then we need to be ok sometimes with not being seen or understood by the other or others. This is not easy! But there is a lot to be gained from paying attention when you are in positions like this, and using them as a test off your independent-mindedness, and ability to be even-minded in the face of the disapproval, scorn, disagreement or indifference of others.
The victory of peace
The victory we are aiming at here is the peace that comes from not needing to be right, or have the approval of others. I would add to this that in combination with this we need to be able to trust and feel confident in our own judgment, otherwise we risk capitulating to others in an inappropriate way, and “letting go” of difficult conversations/arguments that need to be pursued over time simply because they make us uncomfortable.
Summary points for mindful reflection:
- Do I want to be right or at peace?
- Can I accept I may not get the approval of affirmation of others sometimes?
- Do I trust my own judgement and clarity of thinking in this situation?
- Can I be ok with not being understood or ‘seen’ sometimes?
- How committed am I to the victory of peace rather than rightness?
Related article: Engaged equanimity
Article & content © Toby Ouvry 2022, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com
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