Fifteen things to Give UP – to be Happy – #1

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by MSKeller

Give up being RIGHT

Give up being RIGHT

We get inspiration from all over these days.  This is a series inspired by an article on  This will be the beginning of a fifteen article series that will appear on Thursdays.  There are all sorts of things that we seem to want to GET to be happy.  Sometimes it is essential that we give up some things instead. I loved the list, but as a life and relationship coach, I have a few of my own experiences and tools, and have written ideas and will share experiences that I have found to be true and beneficial.  I hope you will agree.

Give up your need to always be right

1. Give up your need to always be right – “But what if I AM right!” You may wonder.  The need to be ‘right’ is what draws us apart.  How many of the arguments that are embarked on between lovers, partners, friends and family members are over things that simply won’t even be remembered a year (or a week) later?  I’d guess a healthy 80% or more.

Something inside of us seems to believe that if we are wrong about something, or if others say we are wrong but ultimately we are not, we lose something of our power.  I’ve seen two people come to near blows over whether a car they passed had black trim or not.  (They eventually found out they were talking about two different cars altogether – sound familiar?)

If you let go of the desire to be right (even when you are!), and allow others to be right, to be different or even to be wrong, half the stress of life evaporates and your relationships are much happier.

Elia Gourgouris says that you can either go through life being right and proving it, or you can go through life happy.  Usually you can’t do both.  Being right is ego – all about you.  Being happy is about both people.  If you are always right, that makes him/her always wrong.  Do you want this wonderful person to feel that way?  I’ve learned that just letting it slide is much more satisfying in the long-run, especially when they find out that you really WERE right all along, and you don’t need to say a thing.

Susan Law Corpany says in her article “Being Right”  (

¨     We may not always be right. There is a first time for everything.

¨     What is right today might not be right tomorrow. We are learning and discovering new things every day.

¨     It may be more important to be open to another’s opinion than to be right.

¨     Sometimes what is “right” is not always best for the relationship. It doesn’t build relationships when we always have to be right.

¨     Sometimes there isn’t a “right.” Many things are subjective.


If we keep these five things in mind, many of our unwanted arguments will be unnecessary.  You’ll be happier as will those around you.  You may even learn a thing or two.

I tend to be quiet if I don’t know the answer or the event or the information that is being discussed.  However when I do speak up, it is because I’m pretty certain that I know what I’m talking about.  I used to have the need to prove that my information was correct.  I realized one day that I was miserable after ‘winning’, if the other person’s feelings were hurt.  It simply wasn’t worth having the correct information and proving to everyone.  There is on occasion, a circumstance that correct information is more important than someone’s ego or feelings, but honestly those situations are rare.

Let your friend tell the story about your trip to Mexico his way.  So what if he forgets that it was on Tuesday instead of Wednesday and that the restaurant was called La Siesta instead of El Senora.  It doesn’t matter, and honestly, no one cares.  They do however care if you interrupt the story constantly to correct little details and bring in a tension where there was fun and excitement of sharing.

Let your partner stretch the story a little if that is how they remember it, even if it wasn’t at all actually like that in your memory.  In the end, the happy memory is far more important than the little details.

Arthur Schopenhauer, a German Philosopher, in The Art of Being Right: 38 Ways to Win an Argument,( (1831) (Eristische Dialektik: Die Kunst, Recht zu Behalten)  says; “…on the other hand, would treat of the intercourse between two rational beings who, because they are rational, ought to think in common, but who, as soon as they cease to agree like two clocks keeping exactly the same time, create a disputation, or intellectual contest.”

What he doesn’t say, is that two clocks keeping exactly the same time, can indeed beat in harmony, or bring chaos, which do you prefer?


See also The Case of the Flat Tires by Marvin Kitchen  July 2002 Ensign says “Being kind is more important than being right, Doing right is more important than being right.”

 Forgiveness  by  Sydni Masoncup November 2011 New Era  says, “Forgiveness is more important than being right.”

About MSKeller

Marsha Steed Keller (Th'Muse) "When I get a little money, I buy books, if there is any left, I buy food and clothes." --Desiderius Erasmus. This defines a part of Marsha's psychology and intent fairly well. When she was a child she says that people asked what super-power she would desire. She replied, "To know what is true, always." It hasn't changed much since then. Marsha cares more about intent than result; more about understanding than agreement and more about good questions than finding all the answers. She defines her best blessings as people (Family and Friends), ideas and beauty. She is highly visual, teaches voice and piano and enjoys her Life/Relationship coaching immensely. She has a BA in Psychology and an AA in Ballroom Dance. Life is an adventure to be lived in the moment and shared with the world. She considers being asked to write with this amazing group a high honor.

8 Responses to Fifteen things to Give UP – to be Happy – #1

  1. j says:

    I enjoyed this article. I’m looking forward to the other 14 in your list.

    I find this issue of right/wrong to be contrary to the gospel as well.

    That said, I also feel there is something underneath the issue or need to be right. Maybe a need to feel accepted or valued. Often times we are not even aware of this. We make it harder for ourselves with the chaos caused by forcing one’s hand to have this need met.

    I don’t know though – – I could be wrong! 😉

    • MSKeller says:

      Thank you. There is always something ‘underneath’ I think, and when we realize that it isn’t being RIGHT that is the real issue, we have a better chance of actually getting to the real need don’t you think?

  2. VonZza Melville says:

    Excellent thoughts

  3. Elissa says:

    I am in a difficult situation at work where some fellow employees are bullying me and telling the boss all the time how wrong and awful I am. I really struggle with being humble and not confrontational about it and saying but I am right. What do you do when your reputation relies on you being right?

    • MSKeller says:

      Giving up having to be ‘right’ doesn’t mean that you have to allow yourself to be bullied. I think it is mostly about intent. It isn’t about being right as much as it is about being a good employee and doing your best. (Which includes being knowledgable and making good choices). Perhaps a sit-down with your supervisor would be in line, as you inquire if there are questions they have about any issues, or incidences. If they do have a negative comment, “That ‘s not a belief I want you to hold. What do I need to do to change it?” – Then you are open to a discussion rather than defensive and blame.

  4. camargue says:

    Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a very well
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  5. templegoer says:

    Such a useful post, a great skill for keeping family realtionships safer.
    Elissa, don’t know if you’re still around. Just wanted to let you know that I had a very persecutory boss when I returned to work after maternity leave. She even criticised me for a someone else’s work, over which I had no watch-care. My professional reputation was at stake, although I was happy to be constructively managed. I really felt that in thses circumstances I couldn’t allow the matter to stand on my record and sought the advice of the next tier of management, who arranged a meeting with HR present. We both presented our view of the facts. I continued to be happy to recieve constructive guidance and we were both effectively put on probation which I accepted- the only way my company had of knowing who I was , was to show them. I continued with the company, she sadly left without my ever discovering what the problem really was.
    My point is that we have to protect ourselves in professional circumstances, but be willing and open to being managed. That job involved two hours a month of specifically accounting for my actions-I learnt that rather than play defence I had to go in there with a willngness to be non-defensive, and the best way to do that was to take issues for consultation.

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