by Ros Kitson
I’ve been asked on occasions in my life whether I’d rather be right or happy and so I now ask this of you. Would you prefer your world to make sense according to your beliefs even if those beliefs will lead to sadness and disharmony? Many people would, although they might not recognise this fact. These patterns run under the surface and are rarely completely conscious.
Or would you prefer to be happy even if this meant challenging the view you’ve created of the world? Although it seems the obvious choice on paper, sometimes it can take real courage to accept this choice.
For example, imagine that you’ve been brought up to believe in the sanctity of marriage over everything else and yours is breaking down. Do you stay in order to be a “good” person; responsible, reliable, someone who knows the meaning of a promise? Or do you make the decision to go because it will give you and your spouse a better chance of finding happiness in the future in a way you’d never manage together?
There’s no right or wrong choice here. I’m just asking people to be aware of what they are choosing between.
We generally invest a lot of ourselves in our belief of how the world is. The things we believe in strongly literally become our world. These beliefs keep us feeling safe. They keep a certain amount of order in a chaotic world.
When I was younger, I believed that in order to be cool, you had to have some kind of vice. So when I initially decided to stop smoking, I had a massive contradiction going on. I’d already stopped drinking alcohol, so smoking was my last “naughty” habit. I believed that by becoming sensible, I would become boring. Luckily my desire for better health was stronger than this belief and I turned it around. I changed my beliefs and I now feel my life is far more interesting than it was back then.
Some people believe they’ll never get over an event that they experienced. They may or may not be right but, by believing that and needing to be right, they are removing the possibility of any healing in that area. I expect we all know someone who carries around the pain from a past event and we often wish on their behalf that they could let it go. Carrying around pain like this weighs us down and can cloud our whole life.
On the other side, there have been instances where people’s belief in their healing has helped them in getting over pain. Sometimes our belief systems can work for us.
The key is to know when our beliefs are helping us be happy and when they are working against happiness.
Some it can be seen as a virtue to hold beliefs firm and never waver them. However I’d like to put a contradictory view that it is often healthy to adjust our viewpoint as new information becomes available.
So, if you are the kind of person whose beliefs cause you to be weighed down, please ask yourself the question, “would you prefer to be right or happy?”
Tags: beliefs, choice, emotional challenges, resistance