Starting from day one, parents constantly teach their kids lessons about life, big and small. They teach us how to tie our sneakers, how to apologize and how to look both ways before crossing the street.
Some lessons are easier to grasp than others. I remember learning at a very early age that hitting hurts. I hit my cousin, and she plowed me back, knocking me flat on my butt. That lesson I heard loud and clear.
But at the mature, well-educated age of 24, there are still some lessons I have a hard time wrapping my brain around. The idea that eludes me the most is doing the right thing.
I understand the basic idea. There is a right and a wrong to any situation, and the smart person, the right person, follows the rules and does the right thing.
The two parts I still struggle with are; when following through and doing the right thing is hard, and when I feel like I’m the only one doing the right thing.
More often then not, deciding what the right thing to do is pretty obvious. It’s the matter of following through and consciously sticking to that decision every day I find so difficult.
Case in point: Last year I had to give up on someone. The idea that giving up was the right thing to do, and also my only option, was obvious.
But there were days when all I wanted to do was talk to him, and it would have been so incredibly easy to overturn my decision.
There were days when I slipped, and afterward my original choice to give up was reaffirmed that much more. I had to continuously remind myself I was doing the right thing, and I hated every minute of it.
Why does doing the right thing have to be so hard? If it’s supposed to be “right,” why can’t it be easier? If the right choice was a little easier, I bet more people would make that choice.
Last week, I was once again smacked with the notion that doing the right thing can really suck.
The fight was bad enough, but it became much worse when we disagreed about what was right.
He argued every point I tried to make about how he was disappointing me and hurting her. He couldn’t see what I was talking about and finally admitted he didn’t care.
How could he not care that he was hurting other people?
When the dust settled, I lost another good buddy and felt even more awful because he was angry and couldn’t understand why I was doing what I was.
Was I the only kid who had “do the right thing” drilled into her brain on a regular basis?
After last week’s drama, I had to ask myself, what has doing the right thing gotten me?
A lot of headaches and drama, a few tears and a few less friends. Where is the upside? I’m failing to see the good in these decisions.
While trying to comfort me, a friend spouted the line that I will be rewarded for my good deeds in the afterlife. Now, I’m not here to debate the afterlife, heaven, hell or purgatory. But my question to her was, do I really have to wait that long? The way modern medicine is progressing, I could be here for a long time. I better get one really awesome reward if I have to wait that long.
I’ve heard the clichés about how the right choice and the easy choice never go hand in hand. But I want a better explanation.
Why does doing the right thing have to be so awful and so hard? I just don’t get it. Other people do the wrong thing and don’t seem to be nearly as torn up as I am. Somebody, please explain it to me before I throw in the towel and switch teams.