Is doing the right thing always the right thing to do? I don’t know. Looking for images on google tells me that the only way is, to do the right thing and any other way is wrong. You’re either blessed or compensated for doing the right thing or you’re demonized for doing the wrong thing. Hence the image above. But, is not doing the right thing, doing the wrong thing? Clearly, I’ve been thinking about this lately as well as some of my clients. Maybe I’ve been thinking about this now that I’m in my 40’s taking a panoramic view of my life, because apparently my view wasn’t wide enough a few years ago. You’re right, I’m not too happy about this.
I’m sure you’ve come across someone who has done all the right things, yet has had ‘bad things’ happen to them, and someone who didn’t do the right thing, has had something great happen. For example, someone who has done the right thing by taking great care of themselves such as eating organic, exercising, taking their vitamins, and meditating still ends up getting some type of cancer. Meanwhile, the couch-potato that eats all kinds of fast food chasing it with a diet coke and a cigarette ends up cancer (and diabetes) free. The person who did the right thing was left wondering, ‘how,’ and ‘why me?’ feeling somewhat betrayed, regretful and resentful. But at whom? Betrayed by their body and the Universe. Regretful that they spent so much time doing what they did to be healthy. Resentful toward their body, society, the Universe and themselves for drinking the kool-aid.?
Does adhering to the rules or doing the right thing contribute to restrictive thinking? Thinking that there is only ‘this way.’ Does always doing the right thing keep you from seeing the panoramic view? Is there fear around not doing the right thing, that something bad will happen or a feeling of having failed at something. What if doing the right thing has no bearing on your payoff or what you will get out of it. Will you get satisfaction knowing you do the right thing? Will you have peace? Or, will you have regret?
Ex. 1 What about leaving your marriage partner for someone else you fell in love with. Right/not right? What if the panoramic view was that the partner who left the marriage was happily remarried in a long-term ’til death-do-us-part relationship.
Ex. 2 What if you wanted children for many years but the circumstance(s) didn’t present itself and you’ve written the possibility off. You had an affair or one night stand with someone and became pregnant and had the baby (out-of-wedlock). Right thing to do or not the right thing? What if the panoramic view was: the child, regardless of how she was conceived was deeply loved, fulfilling a long-term wish of her mother, as well the child grows up to invent a cure for a deadly disease. Is it still not the right thing to have done?
Ex. 3 What if you’re financially holding on by your fingernails and instead of paying your bills, you file for bankruptcy or foreclosure? Right thing/Not right? What if the panoramic view was to let go to make room to make much more money than you could conceive, doing what you enjoy. Holding on kept you seeing what is and prevented you from seeing what can be.
This is life and walking the spiritual path isn’t so cut and dry regardless of what guidelines and rules that each philosophy suggests to follow whether it’s the 10 commandments, New Age thought or the Right Action of Buddhism. It’s very easy, especially from afar to look at a situation and say what is right or what is wrong. But, does not doing the right thing make it wrong? It can make it painful (all examples have pain for all involved) but does it make it not the right thing to do?
Do you do the right thing but end up at a crossroads in your life wondering why? Have you ever felt that your life was restricted because you were following the straight and narrow path? Do you follow or not follow your heart because you think it’s the right thing to do? What if you don’t get the payoff for doing the right thing? What if you do get the payoff you wanted by not doing the right thing? Like life, the answer is convoluted and messy. In the end, it really depends on you and what is right for you, in any situation, regardless of what others, your culture or society says. I know this is easier said than done. In some cultures, you may not have a say, and in other cultures, where you have a say, it may be equally difficult to follow a different path.
I don’t know what the answer is. For me, I’ve come to the conclusion that sometimes Not doing the right thing, is doing the right thing. The right thing for you, may not be the right thing for me. Only you can answer what is the right thing for you to do for your life, no one else can answer that for you.
I can tell you one thing for sure, I’m kinda over needing to upgrade my panoramic view.
Questions for you:
Is doing the right thing synonymous with integrity and congruence? Do you think it is possible to live 100% in integrity 100% of the time? If so, how does Life happen for you? Who are you doing the right thing for? You? Your family? Society? Your image? Your pride? Do you ever feel doing the right thing just isn’t sitting too well with you, so there’s incongruence within you, internal strife? If you do the right thing, even though it’s not working or it doesn’t feel right, do you continue to do the right thing?
Have a great Weekend!