We live in a world that appears mostly divided. People are killing out of their personal pain and a sense of righteousness about what they believe. We live in righteous times.
We can all point to something – or many somethings – that we define as bad and wrong. I say racism is bad. I say not having a way to keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill people is bad. I say, I say, I say… you say, he says, she says. You can find someone – or many someone’s – who are deeply passionate about the exact opposite opinion of yours. Some of them might be relatives that you would rather avoid on Thanksgiving. Some are cousins, high school mates or friends you are happy now live far, far away.
All of us are so damn right.
But it doesn’t really work this being right, thing.
It works for the moment. It really works for a moment. We feel so powerful in our rightness. We hold our heads higher, our feet are firmly planted on the ground. Throw in a little “You are so wrong” and a hand on our hip and we feel like superheroes, like we could conquer the world with how damn correct we are.
Right feels powerful. Right feels like lightning bolts from above. Sometimes we spurn people from our kingdom with that power: “I need people like you out of my life. You don’t deserve my love.”
I literally just heard myself say to someone the other day “I don’t have people like that in my life anymore.” I am still banishing people from my kingdom!
Not only are we saying “You are wrong and I am right,” but we are saying “Your wrongness is so deep, so complete, so oh-my-god wrong that you don’t even come close to my rightness and you don’t even deserve my attention, let alone my love.”
My first book which I co-wrote with Judie O’Neill was called The Lazy Woman’s Guide to Just About Everything. At the back of that book were listed Seven Lazy Woman Commandments and one of them was “You can either be right or be happy.”
We didn’t make it up, of course, but we both used it like a vine in the jungle of conflicts to save us from perishing from our rightness. It was a good short cut to peace. It still is, if you can let it be. Contemplation of that phrase has the ability to shift you in a conflict if you allow it.
But that book came out in 2001. The world is a different place now.
“Would you rather be right or be happy,” I welcome you to 2018. I introduce you to your updated version:
Would you rather be right or be love?
So what is being love? First, we need to cover something — I am no saint. I am a bitch sometimes. I am petty, jealous, mean, and judgmental sometimes. And, I am a superhero. So are you. We all have inside us a Superhero of Love who has nothing inhibiting her giving or receiving love. We are all made of the stuff of love. We are beings of love.
We have all tapped into our Superhero of Love. We have given love to someone we didn’t feel like giving love. We have all stopped and set aside our own crap to be loving to another. We have all even stopped to receive love when we didn’t feel like it. We have stopped in our tracks for love. We need to make that the usual course of business, to stop in our tracks, look, listen and love.
Stop. Look. Listen. LOVE.
And then love it forward.
Do I always feel like doing that? No. But the stakes are higher now so I am making it my mission to seize as many opportunities to move from “right” to “love.”
My friend Kelly was recently at a movie theatre and the people behind her were talking so loudly she couldn’t hear the dialogue in the movie. She waited a while and then asked them to stop talking. The man lit into her. It was upsetting to her and many around her, but she stuck it out and finished watching the movie. As the credits rolled, the man apologized, admitted that he was in anger management training, and offered to pay for her ticket.
He stopped himself in this tracks. It took something for him to do that. He is a Superhero of Love because it took some kind of superpower to stop himself in his tracks and move from “right” to “love.” If he can do it, I can do it even more.
Want to join me?