Competitive Misery

by Johna Hansen, L.C.S.W.

After arguing with someone the other day, I couldn’t get the song “Anything you can do, I can do better” out of my head.  Some of the lyrics are:

“Anything you can be, I can be greater!
Sooner or later I’m greater than you!

[Annie:] No, you’re not!
[Frank:] Yes, I am!
[Annie:] No, you’re not!
[Frank:] Yes, I am!
[Annie:] No, you’re not!
[Frank:] Yes, I am, Yes, I am!”

I laughed while reviewing these lyrics because just as these lyrics don’t have a resolution, neither did my argument with this person.  In the middle of the conversation, I ended it by stating I needed to leave.  Ending conversations without a resolution can be fine, but in this case, well after the conversation ended, I was angry and I wanted vindication.  I started telling other people about the conversation and tried getting people to agree with my arguments.  I continued to try to find ways to justify my position.  At some point, I noticed I was feeling hurt by the comments the other person made and remembering all of the past hurtful things this person said or did. Throughout the day, I thought it would be easiest if I just never spoke to the person again.  By the end of the day, I noticed how much energy I allowed myself to exert toward thinking about this situation and I was tired.

When I thought about why I was feeling hurt, I believed that this person must not treat me this way or act in this manner.  I mean, what right does this person have speaking to me in this way about these things?  And, I must not allow this person’s view on the matter to appear more important than mine. Eventually, I recognized that believing this way was not helpful and that just because I was thinking something should be a certain way, doesn’t make it so.  I began telling myself that “although I prefer this person act differently, there is no requirement for this person to do so.  I may have thoughts about how I would prefer someone to act in a relationship, but those preferences may not always be met.” The number of times I thought about the argument began to decrease.  I stopped desiring to tell everyone in my neighborhood (slight exaggeration) about this “injustice”, and I thought about how the next time I speak with the person, I’ll remember we both are entitled to our opinions.  I could even see myself having a “can you bake a pie? No. Neither can I” moment with the person the next time we speak.

Johna Hansen

 

Share:
This entry was posted in rebt-cbt-post. Bookmark the permalink.