COPE Healing Tip of the Month
The Trap of Being Right
Our beliefs usually dictate how we feel. Our attitudes about people and events will generate our emotional responses to them. We all think our beliefs are always right, otherwise we would believe something else. Since we have practiced our beliefs over a lifetime, we are very loyal to them.
It is very common to get stuck on our rightness and lose sight of our real human objective, which is to be happy. Many people believe that being right IS being happy. Most of us eventually learn that our rightness may be limiting or restricting our happiness. Our rightness about effective recovery from significant emotional losses often limits our ability to complete relationships that have ended or changed. Many of the ideas and beliefs that we were taught about dealing with our losses are incorrect and unhelpful, but after practicing them for a lifetime, they can seem to be very RIGHT.
For example, we were all taught that time heals all wounds. But time does not complete anything that is emotionally incomplete in our relationship with someone who died. If we believe, with tremendous rightness, that time is going to heal our emotional wound, we are destined to wait forever.
Time does not heal. Time goes by. It is the actions that we take within time that can help us grieve and complete relationships that have ended or changed. It is essential to take a new position of rightness about which actions are most helpful to achieve effective long-term grief recovery.
It may be helpful to examine what you believe about grief and recovery from significant emotional loss. How you process the conflicting feelings caused by loss is dictated by what you believe. It is important to have effective beliefs that can lead you towards happiness, rather than stuck in rightness.
(adapted from Grief Recovery Method, Russell Friedman, 1993)
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