Growing up, I believed that doing the right thing couldn’t be as hard as other people make it out to be. I rolled my eyes every time I encountered people who put their integrity at risk, keeping my belief that we are all rational human beings, that we can effortlessly distinguish what’s right from what’s wrong.
I found my truth in this belief, running and pushing through different circumstances in my life. See, I thought it would be easier, as I grow and move forward, to always side with what’s right—until recently.
I got stuck living in the illusion that the easiest path is to keep choosing to do what’s right. I found myself caught up in a situation where the hardest and the most painful thing to do was, without a doubt, the right thing to do.
Life comes at us fast. So fast that it’s natural to react to difficult situations in the wrong way. To do what’s easy in the moment, to do what would hurt less, to ease discomfort with a poor decision just to avoid tackling the pain of the present.
But to do what feels “right” doesn’t mean it IS what is right.
Sometimes, the lies we repeat to ourselves become our truth. Our make-believe truth becomes dangerous as it consumes us. We are afraid to put ourselves at risk of getting hurt again. We convince ourselves to stick with these lies for a myriad of reasons—happiness, as the simplest example.
When we are happy, we often could not care less if we’re wrong. In this world where bliss is rare, we tend to enter every door leading to it, being impulsive and naïve, just to enjoy a minute of fleeting happiness. We make mistakes as we try to chase it regardless of whether we hurt others in the process. We become selfish because we know joy does not always visit everyone, at least not easily.
But we fail to realize that everything has a long-term effect. We can only do so much living in the moment, choosing what’s less painful, seizing momentary bliss. We fail to assess the situation until we’re forced to ask if the fantasy world we built around us and the people we’re risking all of it for is worth anything at all.
Still, it’s hard to see clearly when we’re so full of joy.
It’s not easy to realize that we’re wrong when what we truly desire is compromised. It’s not easy to do a quick self-assessment. Especially when you believe you’ve finally found the happiness you believe you deserve after going through so much. It’s not easy to quit a bad habit that lets you escape the harsh realities of this life, nor is it easy to do what is right, especially when it guarantees nothing but more pain.
So, I was wrong, completely mistaken. For always thinking that it’s a no-brainer. That when our parents and teachers taught us what’s right and wrong, we would immediately know the difference. That in any given situation, we’d never jeopardize our integrity for anything temporary.
It just doesn’t work that way, does it?
The right thing may be the toughest and most painful thing to do, but the more reason why we should keep doing it. Often, the most exhilarating things in life only come to us through consistent acts of doing what’s right and most challenging in the moment.