Sometimes it’s Best to Back Down

Done can be better than right. In some situations, it is better to reach the end even if the outcome is not exactly how you desire it to be.

There are going to be times when you are in conflict with someone. Sometimes you stick to your guns because you know you are in the right, and you will not negotiate with unreasonable demands.

Other times it comes down to principles. You hold a moral high-ground, or somebody needs to learn a lesson, or you simply will not back down.

Then, at times, it comes down to the overall impact. Will not backing down have a broader impact on friends, family, and other relationships? Or, more importantly, will it impact your own mental health?

When you are in this sort of situation you need to decide what’s most important. Stand your ground until you get the outcome you desire or choose to take the high ground for the sake of your own mental health?

You always have a choice

Several years ago I wanted to sell a house I co-owned with someone else. My initial request to put the house for sale met resistance for some time. Eventually, the co-owner agreed to sell…only to back out when a real bid came in.

We didn’t speak for a good year after that. I was really angry. First, I couldn’t get the person to agree to sell, now I was expected to just accept that my half-ownership was less important than theirs.

In time I decided to reopen communications. How long was I going to stay mad and avoid the person? I made a choice and determined to let it go.

In time, the other person figured out a way to buy me out. Finally. This dragged on for a while. Then we started to get down to the finer points, and they told me what they would give me in the buy-out.

The number was insultingly low. I was the half-owner of the property. I knew what it was worth if we were selling it, and splitting the profit on the sale 50/50. I countered. They countered. The number was still low, but now I had a decision to make.

Stand my ground or back down? I had waited so, so long to make this happen. Was I really willing to stand my ground and fight this out? How much longer would that delay the process?

I knew I needed it done. That was more important. So I let it go and accepted what was given.

Your resolve may be tested

Should I have held up for the money I deserved? Maybe. But this was not worth the ongoing headache of remaining co-owner of the property. I needed it gone. It had to be completed.

So of course, this isn’t the end of the story.

The day finally, after many months of delays, arrived for the signing of the paperwork. This was the last step before a check would make its way into my bank account, and my co-ownership of the property would be done.

It starts off as such things do. Read this. Sign that. Everything as expected. Until we get to my payment.

The amount I felt I deserved? The number we had agreed on? Nope — the number my co-owner originally offered me.

They claimed this was a coincidence. A bank error when the refinance that allowed them to buy me out was set-up. Do you know what I thought of that? Bullshit.

Also, you know, I READ the paperwork I was signing. I saw how much the refi was for in total. I knew how much was owed on the existing mortgage. So I knew how much cash my co-owner would be getting out of this deal.

Again, I had a choice. Hit the brakes and DEMAND satisfaction and better, more equal equity…or let it go and be done with it.

Stopping it then and there would have added who-knows how much time to it. This has been a seven-year process. What’s more, the co-owner had already determined my worth in this was less than theirs.

Perhaps I should have fought. Yeah, I could have used the money, and I have zero doubt I was in the right.

But I let it go. I signed the paperwork. It was done.

Regret or relief?

I am only human. While I was really relieved to be rid of my ownership of the property, I still questioned if I should have fought anyhow.

Do I regret that I didn’t press my case? Not really. Yes, I am still irked (the former co-owner and I still have a relationship), but more than that I am hurt. They felt right and justified in screwing me out of my fair share of a property we co-owned 50/50.

I also have to wonder — how would this have gone had we sold instead of refinancing? Would they have fought me over splitting the profit? History says most likely yes.

Yet the relief of being rid of the property still is greater than my hurt or anger. When it needs utterly necessary and potentially costly maintenance — the property is probably over 100 years old, so it will — I will not have to care. Not my problem. Not my property.

Further, I chose what I believe was the better path. Money is transient, it comes and it goes. Yes, I may have had a very legitimate claim to it, and maybe I could have and should have fought harder for it. But was it worth the stress? The further damage it would do to the relationship with the co-owner and others? The negativity and overall impact on my mental health? No.

The relief outweighs any regret. No, I cannot say there are zero regrets, though I consider it less about regret and more general remaining annoyance. A situation of this nature is going to suck.

Self-care is important

The greatest takeaway from this experience for me was that I saw that done is sometimes better than right.

Maybe I was as in the right as I believed myself to be. Would it have been worth the continued stress that maintaining that position was causing me?

When all is said and done, no.

The only person who knows what is best for you is you. Maybe in the same situation, you would have stood your ground. What’s most important is choosing the best thing for you and your mental health.

It’s all too easy to get worked up about any given situation. Life is all about choices, though, and you get to decide how you will think, feel, and then act in those cases. Your own self-care is too important to ignore or neglect.

It’s only human that there might be even a slight bit of disappointment in the decision. But if the relief outweighs the stress that’s a matter of self-care. Sometimes it’s best to back down because done is better than right. In some situations, it is better to reach a conclusion even if the outcome is not exactly how you desire it to be.

You are worthy and deserving of using your mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done you and I matter, whether we stand-up or back-down.

Here are my Five Easy Steps to Change the World for the Better

I am a practitioner of mindfulness, positivity, philosophy, & conscious reality creation. I love to inspire, open minds, & entertain. http://www.mjblehart.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store