Conflicts arise as a result of not understanding that there are as many points of view as there are people. Our unique points of view are a gift. We live in a universe reflecting who we are, which we should cherish and celebrate. Instead, we rush to defend our tiny piece of it.
Consider how relationships develop. We get along well with someone else who agrees with our point of view. We feel an intimate connection; we feel validated in their presence. Then the spell is broken: it turns out that the other person has many opinions and beliefs with which we don’t agree at all. At this point, the war between right and wrong starts, and the road to unhappiness unspools before us.
The very fact that you are in an intimate relationship makes it even more painful to find areas of disagreement. At the subtle emotional level you feel abandoned. The beautiful sense of merging with someone you love is shattered. At this point love is compromised, as both people experience the return of the ego, which says, “I am right. My way of doing things is the only way. If you really loved me, you’d give in.”
But in reality love hasn’t failed. It was just blocked by the need to be right, to cling to your own viewpoint instead of surrendering to what love would do. To the ego, however, surrender is defeat and disgrace.
If you are mindful of this fact, then every time the urge to be right surfaces in your awareness, look at your circumstances in context. Is it possible that someone else’s viewpoint is as valid as yours? Since the equality of viewpoints is a given, now it becomes possible to let go of the win-lose scenario.
Ask yourself, “What do I really want out of the situation, to be right or to be happy?” Can you see that the two are not the same? When you give in to your need to be right, you are turning your back on love, communion, and ultimately unity. Unity is the realization that at the deepest level everyone shares the same consciousness, which is the source of all love and joy.
Adapted from The Ultimate Happiness Prescription, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2009).