And the righteous shall prevail...or will they?

Black and White Heart

While in religious terms being righteous is a good thing, in relationships not so much!

Having mediating more than a thousand couples as they were divorcing, I’ve learned that nothing gets in the way of a good relationship or the ability to make progress through conflict more than righteousness. Righteousness is more than believing you are right. It is believing you are morally justified in your actions.

That means that you have judged the other person and found yourself superior.

If you resemble this remark (and, if we’re honest, we all do occasionally), you might be saying, “but Bobbie, you have no idea what he did to me!” I can pretty much imagine that it was horrible whatever it was.

Does that mean you should respond in kind?

My Mom taught me that I should strive to be the better person. “Don’t lower yourself to other’s standards,” she would remind me. How do we do that? By first reminding ourselves that we are all imperfect (I’m sure I’ve been horrible too), and then choosing to practice forgiveness.

Forgiveness means letting go of resentment and the desire for revenge.

Guess who forgiveness is good for? You! According to the Mayo Clinic, holding a grudge can lead to numerous negative health consequences related to stress, while forgiveness leads to:

  • Healthier relationships
  • Greater spiritual and psychological well-being
  • Less anxiety, stress and hostility
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Fewer symptoms of depression
  • Stronger immune system
  • Improved heart health
  • Higher self-esteem

So, the next time you’re in a conflict with someone, ask yourself--is it more important to be right or to be happy?And if things don’t go that well, don’t beat yourself up. Self-forgiveness is the most important kind to practice.

Bobbie L. Dillon, M.S., empowers people to create Peace-Full Relationships--harmonious relationships where both people’s needs are met--as a Teacher, Communication & Conflict Management Coach, and Relationship Mediator. Check out more resources and on-line and in-person classes at Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.