Do we want to be happy or do we want to be right? Our ego is often blocking our potential for happiness and we feel we need to be right and for others to confirm us in this. But why? Is that instant gratification worth our happiness?
I’m fascinated by people. There is so much to see when you’re surrounded by people, especially when they are engaged in conversation. We communicatie so much more than just the spoken message. Our body language speaks volumes and you have to be something special in order to manipulate it. Body language shows what you really think and feel. In a discussion, there are some different roles to be seen. There are people who are most of all loud and don’t listen, people with a closed attitude who are going to stick to their point of view whatever the other is going to say, people who listen more than they talk and people who listen but above all search for an argument they can kill. To then leave the discussion feeling not right nor happy. People like the confirmation in ‘being right’, in winning the argument. It caresses your ego. But does it make you happy? Being open and receptive in a discussion makes all the difference for its outcome.
Raise your arguments, not your voice
When I look at myself I know I am someone who engages in a discussion with arguments if I endorse its importance. Being right and fighting to get it acknowledged aren’t my thing. I always try to also look at the relationship. And I’m always open to hear someone else’s arguments to compare them with what I think. The new information might actually change my point of view. That’s not bad; that’s a new insight. We can never know the whole truth because our perception is never the absolute truth and we can’t know information in another way than through our perception. Every human has had a different life path and therefore a different point of reference. We are lucky enough to live in a democracy in which we are entitled to our own opinion. However the art is in distinguishing opinions from facts and forming are own thorough opinion. Of course it is nice when someone else recognizes himself in your frame of mind. We humans sometimes need that confirmation to makes us feel stronger. But that isn’t happiness to me. I see ‘let’s agree to disagree’ as a fine statement. Because I believe I will end up happier leaving a discussion if all partners treated each other equally. If the discussion was about the content and if the relationship was maintained.
As long as you’re behind your arguments and at the same time can accept that the other person can also be right with his arguments, maybe that can be called happiness. Because you accept the other for who he is and you’re open to new knowledge without being afraid of loss of face. It’s fine to say: “I first believed this but now I think that.” That’s not weakness, that’s what opens doors.
So. We often don’t really listen. We have the tendency to look for an opportunity to react, instead of wanting to sincerely understand the other. The happiness I’m talking about here doesn’t necessarily refer to ‘feeling happy’. I’m more talking about the situation and ‘pick your battles’. Ego is often in our way and there we find a resemblance with feeling happy: being able to recognize the ego when it’s acting up and not letting it overrule. Now what is ego really? You often hear people say: ‘he has such an ego!’ (yes, quite typical how that is much more often said about men than about women… 😉 Ego is defined as someone’s sense of their own worth in Collins Dictionairy. This way you’d think if someone has a big ego, it would be positive: he or she is very self-conscious. Know thyself. But when that ego gets the best of you in communication, that self-confirmation in being right becomes more important than being happy. Short-term gratification over long-term gratification, in my opinion. Being right or being acknowledged in being right brings you a short moment of victory. Being happy is a state of being within you. If your happiness comes from the times of acknowledgement of being right, anyone can take it away from you.