I am probably the only adult who doesn’t know this, but it occurred to me in a moment of reflection with a client a few days ago, and I thought it was worth sharing.
There is no doubt in my mind that we have all had this experience – of knowing we must do the ‘right’ thing, even if it will not be easy. It’s a heavy thing to make this choice. I know I have avoided this choice sometimes.
Why avoid? Maybe it’s the emotional piece. Doing the ‘right but not easy’ thing involves humility and effort. And humility is a tough emotional experience.
Perhaps it’s that we’ve made enough mistakes, we feel we ought to be making less of them. If we’re making ‘right’ decisions the first time around, we’re avoiding making tough, but right, decisions- because we’ve already made the right choice.
Perhaps we simply think if we make the ‘right’ decision, carrying it out should be easy. Right?
Yeah, I haven’t seen it happen like that. In fact, the biggest ‘right’ decisions I’ve made were not easy to carry out.
I think of people in my life right now, making right (but not easy) decisions:
- to leave the marriage that just isn’t working (and hasn’t for a while)
- to decide not to have a baby
- to have the affair
- to not have the affair
- to leave both the lover and the partner
- to stay with the job because there must be food and rent paid
- to stay away from the one you love
- to care for the kid you don’t see regularly
- to sit tight until you can do the next right thing
These decisions test people deeply, perhaps because there is a flip side to these kinds of decisions. A side that is almost equally attractive.
- We could not have the affair (when the right decision is to do it- and, yes, I do believe that an affair can be the right thing, sometimes).
- We could stay with the person who is habitual, easy (instead of leaving).
- We could stay in the marriage until the kids go to college (I hate this one, for so many reasons).
- We could just send cash for our far-away kid (instead of being emotionally supportive).
- We could dump the job and hope for the best at the end of the month (instead of supporting the responsibilities we’ve taken on).
Any of those options sound equally attractive, on a lot of different scales, than what we know to be right. And that’s what makes the decision so hard, but also so important.
|steer for sunlight|
When I was in the Sex Surge, my ‘right’ decision was to stay with my marriage. The man I wanted for my lover was never going to accept me, but I could have found someone else (I’m fairly sure). The right decision was to stay and that decision was not easy. In fact, it exacted a lot of pain and frustration as payment, when (in my mind) it was all supposed to be easy.
Staying on the course of what was right has given me huge benefits. I have a very supportive, sexy, growth-oriented marriage. I am personally much happier and healthier and sensual. I’m glad I traded the sweat and tears of the right decision for all those things. But I had many days of ‘what if…’ and ‘is this really the right choice?’ and ‘I don’t care that it’s ‘right’ anymore- I want what I want!’
Doing what is right is often a ‘two steps forward, one step back’ dance. Some days it’s three steps back and no forward movement for weeks. But there does come a light, forward movement, change that happens when we remain persistent. Doing the hard work brings us closer to what is right, and that is its own reward.
How do we know what the ‘right’ decision is? I can only say that you have to look deep inside your own heart, mind, and soul. Even for me, I had to give less weight to the truth of my body (who wanted a lover) and stick to what my soul knew at the deepest level (to stay with my husband). To find what is right, you must find what your deepest truth is.
And whatever your truth is, be willing to honor it and begin living it. Yes, that is the ‘not easy’ part. But it is also the ‘very worth it’ part- because those answers that come from the deepest part of yourself are pointing you towards the highest good for your life. And while the highest good almost always involves hard work, it is still the highest good.