Would you rather be right or have peace?
A few months ago I had a strange encounter with a complete stranger.
I was attending an event in another state and the security guard at this event approached me. He asked if I was from New York and I clarified that I was from Buffalo, New York, not New York City. This is a common misconception. Then the conversation went off the rails.
The security guard said, “The government is monitoring you.”
I paused for a second and realized he must be talking about the National Guard that was just called in to help with an unprecedented snowstorm we were currently experiencing back home. When I expressed my thinking, he clarified his meaning.
“No. The government is monitoring you. They have balloons in the air above you in New York and are watching everything you do.”
Hmm. At this point my brain is firing on all cylinders. Is he serious? What the heck is he talking about? Balloons? How do I respond to this?
As I am processing this conversation, I look at his face. His crystal-clear blue eyes stare straight into mine with a smile. He is serious and he wants to get into this with me. He is so sure of himself that he repeats his claim of government monitoring, trying hard to convince me.
I have two choices – engage or don’t engage.
I love having a stimulating debate with a friend over coffee. That is not what this security guard is after. He is not looking to have an informed discussion about government surveillance. He is picking a fight with me, a total stranger.
My response to him was short and polite. With a smile on my face I simply said, “Okay.”
He was stunned silent. He repeated himself a third time. Then I repeated myself, “Okay.”
He was expecting me to argue. He was ready for my denial of government balloons flying over my home so he could show me how ignorant I am and how informed he is. He was totally unprepared for my acceptance. I wasn't agreeing or disagreeing, I was simply receiving his position. I refused to engage in the debate.
This is an important boundary to recognize and deploy when needed.
Sometimes people are looking for an argument. They provoke us and manipulate us for their own gratification. We can allow them to steal our energy, or we can shut it down.
It begs the question... Would I rather be right, or would I rather have peace?
The answer for me is simple. I would rather have peace of mind knowing that I protected my energy. Getting into a nonsensical debate at an inappropriate time and place would not have benefitted me in any way.
This strategy works with people we know too. I have deployed this boundary at the holiday dinner table with aggressive relatives and at business meetings.
Asking myself in the moment – Right? or Peace? – allows me to control my response. I can engage if I feel strongly about my position or I can step back and avoid the spike in my blood pressure.
Thoughtfully Selfish = thinking about the situation and choosing what you need in that moment.
The next time someone provokes you ask, “Would I rather be RIGHT, or would I rather have PEACE?” Then choose the best response for you in that moment.
For more tips and tricks to Create Healthy Boundaries and Say NO With Confidence, download my free People Pleaser's Toolkit and begin practicing today.
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