Have you ever been asked this question? People will tend to ask you this question when they feel you have done them wrong. This is not a fun question to be asked, but it can be a fun question to answer. There may be times when you are challenged with this question, and there are some great ways to respond. I have found three levels of responses from the lowest level (worse) to the highest level (best) through my experiences. Perhaps they can help you…
Level 1: The “Smart Ass” Way
I use to pride myself on my witty comebacks and ability to get under people’s skin if they challenged me. It was simple, if you threaten my ego, my ego is gonna hit you back. And having quite a bit of experience and education, I had the ammo to really get what I thought was the upper hand on people. It is only through years of mistakes , a new understanding of happiness, and identifying what is important in life that has allowed me to abandon this ego-based response when I am challenged.
If you can abandon this way, you will most likely move to Level 2…
Level 2: The “I’m Sorry, Help Me Understand” Way
At this level, you are less ego driven and more relationship driven. You begin to understand that the relationship is more important to you than being right or wrong. So, when someone asks you, “How can you sleep at night?”, you are more interested in understanding how you have hurt them than you are in putting them down or outwitting them. You begin to seek to understand what they are saying and begin to look for flaws in what you have done. You begin to be more humble and more willing to see that you may have made a mistake. You apologize for doing them wrong and hope to never let it happen again.
It is through being humble, and apologetic that you can learn to progress to Level 3, which I believe is the level where we should all be aiming…
Level 3: The “I’m Sorry, Principle-Based” Way
When you reach this level, you begin to look at life differently and understand the value of principle-based living. You are trying to live your life according to your own principles and code. You practice your principles every day and reflect upon your successes and failures in meeting your principles. If you are asked this question at this level, you can easily respond with why you acted the way you did and have a principle to back you. It doesn’t mean you can’t learn here and it doesn’t mean you didn’t make a mistake. It just means you can back what you did based upon a principle you try to live by.
Principles are living code. You will amend and improve upon them. So, when you are asked, “How can you sleep at night?”, you can easily answer based upon principle-based living. First you answer with an apology as you NEVER want to hurt anyone. Then you can explain why you did whatever you are being accused of, and then seek to understand why it hurt the person. Based upon what they say, you can go back and determine if you need to update your principle of living or if you need to find a way to adhere to that principle better. Or you may simply explain that while you understand how they feel, your response was in accordance to what you believe to be right.
This is a next level approach to life that we all need to be striving to attain.
Happiness can be found when you live a life based upon solid life principles. Principles that say you will not intentionally hurt anyone, that you will always do your best, and that you will always seek to understand are sure ways to help you sleep easier at night. I use to take the Smart Ass Way and let my ego do the work, but then I learned that my relationships are more important to me than being right or wrong. And being the smart ass really didn’t help me sleep well at night. It wasn’t until I tried to understand people and how to live a principle-based life that I was able to find more joy and happiness in how I was living.
I sleep very well now. I live the principle-based life. I am not perfect, but I am learning and striving to improve each day. It is a much happier life. A life where you feed your heart with love rather than feed your ego with triumphs. The former helps you sleep at night, the latter leaves you restless.
I wish you the very best as you progress through these levels.