Miracle #11 - Choose to be Happy Instead of Right

Photo:   Edu Lauton

Photo:
Edu Lauton

Today I was thinking about how much time and energy I used to spend on making others wrong.

I used to read articles on the Internet looking for things to correct in the comments.

I used find things wrong with the grammar, spelling, pronunciation, and opinions of others.

I honestly thought that I was somehow being helpful by pointing out their inadequacies!

I didn't realize it at the time, but I thought that my salvation lay in being right about things.

It was very important to me to get things right - more important than anything else!

I used to live in fear of making mistakes, getting things wrong, screwing up. When I did make a mistake - because after all I was only human - I would beat myself up inside, even if no one else thought the mistake was a big deal.

I would recall how I screwed up and make myself feel crummy for not having done a better job.

And because I was so hard on myself, I felt justified in being hard on everyone else too.

Years ago I tasked my husband with picking out our family Christmas cards. When he showed me his choice, my response was this:  "Really? That is what you selected?"

He seemed bummed and said: "I knew that whatever I chose, you wouldn't like it."

It gave me pause - I wondered which design I had wanted him to pick? I realized that I was being critical for no good reason. I gained a little bit of awareness, but it didn't make me stop. 

It took another 15 years before I recognized that my insistence on making others wrong not only did not make me feel better about myself, but damaged my relationships.

That recognition occurred last spring while I was taking the 40-Day Transformation Program offered by Lisa Natoli and the Teachers of God Foundation. I learned then that everyone on the planet is calling out for love and that "only appreciation is an appropriate response to a brother". 

When it became more important to me to extend love than to find fault, I suddenly found happiness.

My relationships were transformed.

My teenage son, who had never been affectionate or wanted guidance from me, suddenly started kissing me goodbye regularly and asking me for advice.

My sister, who wanted nothing to do with me for 35 years, suddenly started texting me every day.

Whereas I previously found social events tiring and draining, I suddenly started to enjoy being around other people. 

Best of all, I realized that I had lots of time and energy to do things I loved and enjoyed, because I was no longer expending those resources on correcting everything and everyone around me! 

The Bible tells us to judge not, lest we be judged.  I had never before realized that thinking something needed to be fixed or improved was the same as judging it.

I thought it was my duty as a parent to correct my children.

I thought I was being "truly helpful" by correcting others.

Now I understand that the only way to be "truly helpful" is to love and accept others just as they are. Once I made a decision to be happy, and to make that more important than being right, miraculous events began to flow into my life and they haven't stopped!  

Thank You, Holy Spirit

Seek not outside yourself. For all your pain comes simply from a futile search for what you want, insisting where it must be found. Do you prefer that you be right or happy? -Text chapter 29, VII.1