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Giving up the need to be right

A wise man once said, “Avoid arguments if possible, especially if impossible”. Arguments are no doubt a part of every relationship and sometimes it could be the spice in the relationship. But it depends upon who are the people arguing and what they are arguing about.

If the argument is about some fact, it does not take much time to settle it. One person has to just point to the fact recorded somewhere and it is the end of the argument. But most arguments between people are not about facts but about opinions and perceptions and the people involved in the arguments don’t even realize that they are battling each other’s perceptions. Each one believes that they are arguing about facts.

“The food in the marriage was not at all good.”

“What do you mean, food was not good, It was excellent.”

“I don’t know how you can call it excellent. The sambar had no salt in it, the rotis were too hard”

“And the sweet was too sweet, I suppose” sarcasm makes its entry.

“I didn’t say anything about the sweet, did I?”

“I really loved the sambar and in fact took a second helping and the Rotis melted in my mouth. I don’t know what you are complaining about. It was better than the marriage feast of your cousin last month” The beginning of your side vs my side.

“Yeah, any feast from your family is always superior to my family’s feasts. Have heard it since we got married” Personalization of the issue makes its entry.

“You can only complain about everything. You don’t know how to enjoy anything. Your mother’s genes are showing.” Time for comments on personality to take the bow.

“What have you got against my mother, I can’t understand. And I have not inherited it from her. You have inherited a lack of discretion from your dad. Nodding your head for everything. Anything that others do, you will find it great, whereas anything that I do, your complaints will start. You can praise the cooking of some cook in a function, have I ever heard you praising what I do?”

“That I eat without complaining is praise isn’t it?”

“There is no point in talking to you is there?” Complete and comprehensive silence of the cemetery envelops the home.

Most arguments between people are about opinions, tastes, preferences, sensitivities and choices. All these are very individual. One is not better than the other. Someone liking cooked peanuts in their curry is not better than those who like roasted peanuts. It is just a preference. Classical music is not better than film/western music. It is a choice of someone. Someone wanting a greater amount of salt in their food is not insulting you. It is their individual sensitivity to salt.

For greater harmony in relationships, it is important to give up the fight to be right. There is no right and wrong when it comes to tastes, shades of opinions, sensitivities to different sensations of vision (it hurts my eye, may not hurt yours), sound (that is loud for you, okay for me), smell (I can’t stand that while you love it), touch (that dress hurts my skin may not hurt yours) and taste (that is bland for you, spicy for me). You cannot settle such arguments, as these sensitivities are very individual or personal. No amount of argument will convince the other person. Inevitably all such arguments degenerate from a harmless beginning to an acrimonious end. For harmony in relationships better to give up such arguments and acknowledge the sensitivities and preferences of people around us.

The fight to be right leads nowhere but hurts the foundations of a relationship and most arguments are about fighting to be right. Do we really need them?


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