Every time you catch yourself thinking or saying, ‘I would never do or say that’ – a warning light should go off. Such perfection is an impossible act to follow
Holidays often remind us of old bygones and unfinished business. When you get behind 4 walls with people you don’t often see, it is easy to go backward and reinvent old hurts and confusion. The reinvention assumes that this person cannot change and no evolution in thinking or living has occurred. It also precludes that your well-being depends on you continuing in your position of negative judgment.
Being right has never equaled winning in life or relationship. Finding your own peace beyond the righteous position will almost always put you further ahead. Ask yourself the question “What is important and true for me that brings peace beyond the perceived bygone?”
One-Upping Another is the Down Path
“We become judgmental when we move from the legitimate exercise of discernment to a place where we become fault finders/nit-pickers. We take on the role of judge, jury, and executioner.” Alan Wilson
“Judgment comes in part out of your own fear. Because you are not comfortable with how things are and with yourself, judging creates a way to separate. Although it feels safe in the moment, the separation creates suffering for you and the other person.” Ram Dass.
In the heat of a righteous argument, it’s easy to fall into the trap of one-upping the other person. Endlessly arguing your point, picking apart what they are saying, or even resorting to insults are all ‘one-upping’ behaviors to watch out for.
One-upping is a slippery slope and a down path. Those one-upping behaviors cannot happen without revisiting or even dwelling on of the harm done. When you hurt another…you also self-harm.
Taking a temporary break can provide a moment to breathe, and an acceptable way to clear your head without needing to separate.
Separation is often accentuated by taking pride in the very thing that sets you apart. It is easy not to care for another who is not the same as you. The lie that substantiates this separation is that you can function as an island completely distinct from the other person/idea and you are safer out of contact.
Learning to appreciate your predicament and theirs, allows the two of you to exist with disagreement, without separation. If you push someone or something away, it remains and often becomes a smelly garbage heap when pushed under the rug. Anger comes from holding on to how things should be and denying what is.
Holding on to how things ‘should be’ creates a need to hold on to the position on both sides…furthering the idea that it is reasonable to continue negative judgment.
Pouring Concrete into the Judgment
Pouring concrete into the judgment is the process of building an altar to what happened. It is an elaborate story with a beginning, build up, and a somewhat symphonic ending. It’s a story of judgment that you feel emotionally stirred up about and connected to.
Pouring concrete into the judgment and separation creates a series of side effects with predictable results.
- Becoming Defensive: It becomes increasingly difficult for your opposing other to say anything to you or vice versa because you have decided you’d rather not hear it. The result is that all communication shuts down with the exception of short unpleasant interactions. You poke at me, or I poke at you and often both sides keep score.
- Stonewalling: Rather than addressing in any way what bothers you, you wall off and stay walled off for a while….or vice versa. You exist in the same space, but there is a frozen /impermeable wall between you.
- Being Passive/Aggressive: Instead of saying how you feel or what you want and need, you punish your partner in a number of ways if you do not get what you want. There is also often a further judgment that your partner should mind read what you want and provide it. If they don’t, then they certainly deserve the passive/aggressive response.
You Can Both Win – Opening to a More Permeable, Full Circle Viewpoint
Moving beyond being ‘right’ and the resulting separations from the people that are important to you is an essential skill-set for people interested in growing themselves and their relationships.
The first thing that needs reframing is the idea that you ‘win’ when you are unwavering about being ‘right’. The concept that the ‘winner takes all’ never takes into account that if you do take all with no regard for the other person, you may have all the material advantages, but no one who wants to share them with you.
The bottom line is that stepping down, taking a breather, and accepting that you are where you are, and they are where they are is only today….and does not mean you have lost or that this problem will always exist.
Paula Heller Garland says “Often after arguing about different viewpoints, I hear people saying…’let’s agree to disagree.’ I look forward to a time so open-minded….that I will hear people say….I’m right and you can be too!”
How might your life be different if you let go of being ‘right’ sometimes?