Integrity is an important value to me: being true to my work, following through and honoring commitments and being consistent with my beliefs and actions. It’s not always easy, especially that last part, but I continue to try.
One thing that recently showed up for me to work on is my need to be right. Ironically, I’ve had this conversation with people, that goes something like this, “Do you want to be right, or do you want to get what you want/need?”
It’s so much easier when I’m not the actor in this play.
I’ve mentioned before that I wanted to be the female personification of Perry Mason when I was a child. I dreamed of being a lawyer, walking into a courtroom with a commanding presence, all confident, poised and prepared to make my case that will prove my point. I practiced over and over doing just that. Here’s my belief/thought/feeling and here are the reasons for it. This is why I am right and you are wrong.
Bam! Gavel down on the bench.
I recently had an issue with someone and as I was silently building my case, I realized what I was doing. This is someone I enjoy, and while I am hurt and angry and do believe I should express my feelings, I don’t need to go so far as to build a case as to why she sucks. I was so busy doing it that I felt my heart harden and I was working myself to the point of demanding an apology for the perceived infraction or else.
Yeah, I was going there, and what a crappy place to be.
Do I want to be right, or do I want to get what I need? Maybe there is a middle ground, however, as while I do want to communicate to get what I need, I don’t need her to throw herself on the sword to do it. Because I have a fairly good idea that she’s also considering her beliefs and feelings and they aren’t showing me in such a favorable light as my thoughts are.
I recently read an article by Dr. Phil in Oprah magazine (yep, I sure did!) where he talked about a pancake, and no matter how flat you make that pancake, there is always another side. It’s not easy to see that when you’re the female personification of Perry Mason building your case, but it’s still there.
I took a step back. I put aside all of my (superb) reasons why I was right, and why I had been so cruelly wronged that I simply had to have an apology, and tried to see the other side of the pancake.
And you know what I learned? I’d rather get what I need/want than be right. It felt so much better.