It's often better to be happy than to be right.
When I first moved to Seattle, I was an emotional mess. Abandonment issues from my childhood caused me to live in a hard-shelled cocoon of self-preservation. I wanted to love and trust people, but didn’t know how and so was self-sufficient in the extreme. Knowing it wasn’t healthy to be like that – master’s degree in psychology – I decided to seek help. However, since no one was trustworthy, finding an alternate way to healing was critical.
During my first year in Seattle, I found a non-denominational new-age church. It was small, in an intimate setting and suited me very well. Some people at the church decided to start a Course in Miracles study group, and I was delighted. We met every Saturday morning.
In case you are unfamiliar, The Course is divided into three sections: the “Text,” the “Workbook for Students,” and the “Manual for Teachers.” At the advice of our original group leader, we started by reading from the “Text” and then closed every session with one lesson from the “Workbook.” By the time we got to the “Manual for Teachers” we realized it was probably where we should have started, because according to The Course, everyone is a teacher and that section was the most basic and easiest to understand.
Over time, we went through The Course from cover to cover several times – all 1,108 pages of it - not including indexes. The first time through, it was like walking through a maze. We’d round a corner and see what looked like an exit only to find a dead end which propelled us back into the labyrinth. We talked for hours about what it meant, reading one heading and sometimes one paragraph per session in our attempt to decipher it. It was confounding and confusing and frustrating.
There were times I walked away from our meetings thinking I would never break through the complicated language to find meaning from the words. But slowly over time it started to make sense. It was through our own united willpower and desire that we were finally able to break through.
I learned it’s more important to be happy than to be right. I never thought about how detrimental my stubbornness was to my happiness, and how hurtful it could be to others. Sometimes the things, about which I most needed to be right, were not very important in the general scheme of things. Simple things like how to arrange your kitchen cabinets didn’t really matter. I had to let them go.
I learned that the world is filled with love and happiness and we will find what we are looking for when we know what we want. This was a difficult concept for me because, since my early childhood, I’d never known real love and happiness. I had no idea of what I really wanted and how it was supposed to look and feel. There was no role model to go by. There was no list and no rules to guide me. Figuring out what I wanted was a seemingly impossible task.
I learned every person we meet is a mere reflection of ourselves. We can learn something from them all, and the briefest encounters or the longest relationships provide opportunities for us to grow. Since I didn’t particularly like a lot of the people I met, it was painful to think they were personal reflections. The most irritating part was, many of the people I disliked kept hanging around. When I finally realized the only way to make them go away was to actually learn the lesson they were here to teach, they gradually started disappearing.
I learned everything that happens is either from love or from a call for love. All the negative feelings - anger, fear, hatred, envy, etc, - are just a call for love. We can see things differently just by looking at situations and people with unprejudiced eyes. Instead of reacting to the negative feelings with more negativity, if I looked at them as a cry for help from that person, it was easier to tap into the love inside myself and return love to them.
Applying these lessons isn’t always easy, but over time it’s become deep-rooted in me and it’s more natural now to react from love.
Sometimes being perfect is really, really hard work!