Over the weekend, I found myself humming the famous tune from the 1950’s movie “Annie Get Your Gun.” The light little ditty was stuck in my head and I happily hummed it over and over again. Before I knew it, I began joyously singing the words while preparing lunch… “Anything I can do, you can do better. You can do anything better than me. No I can’t, yes you can! No I can’t, yes you can! Anything I can be, you can be greater. You can be anything, greater than me. No I can’t, yes, you can! No I can’t, yes you can!” Every “No, I can’t” was matched with a heartfelt, encouraging (and maybe a little too loud) “Yes, you can!” I really do love building others up and helping them recognize their strengths.
My bubble was suddenly burst as my sweet husband gently explained the I had the words turned around. We deliberated briefly before turning to the all-knowing GOOGLE for the lyrics. You can only imagine my disappointment as we found that the true lyrics are, “I can do anything you can do, better! I can do anything better than you! No you can’t! Yes, I can! No you can’t! Yes, I can! I can be anything you can be, greater! I can be anything, greater than you! No you can’t! Yes I can! No you can’t! Yes, I can!” My heart sank and all I could say in deflated sadness was, “Well, that’s not very nice.”
The more I thought about it, the more sad I became. I realized that many relationships are struggling because of this pattern of needing to be right and winning, rather than rooting for the success and joy of the relationship. We allow differences of opinion to negatively escalate, hurt one another’s feelings, and become physically negative because we miss our chances to let go or repair the damage as it is occurring. We miss opportunities to love, encourage, and strengthen our loved ones so they can be winners. Don’t we want to share our homes, children, and lives with a winner rather than a loser?!
I thought it would be fun to include a clip of the song from the movie. As you watch, notice the arguments that didn’t promote good feelings, escalations that could have been calmed, how they took turns being the instigator to keeping it going, and how negative physical interactions crept in- all in the name of being right.
Unfortunately, once these patterns get established in our real-life relationships, they can be a challenge to change. If you notice these patterns are present in your relationship, it isn’t too late to create new patterns through just a few sessions of education and fun activities to do together. That’s all it takes move into a happy, “Anything I can do, you can do better. You can do anything better than me. No I can’t, Yes you can! No I can’t, yes you can! Anything I can be, you can be greater. You can be anything greater then me. No I can’t, yes you can! No I can’t, yes you can!”
Let every “No, I can’t” that you hear be matched with a heartfelt, encouraging “Yes, you can!”
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