It’s one of the most common questions we all share.
And one of the hardest to answer.
“Am I doing the right thing?”
This query may be about a parenting decision, a choice at work or about the status of a relationship. It can be a major life decision, a switch that changes the entire track of your life. Or, it may be a passing matter of minor importance.
The question seeks reassurance, a guarantee of sorts that if a particular path is chosen and the steps are taken, the desired outcome will eventually be reached.
But of course, life offers us no such promises, provides no warranties. Instead, we are tasked with trying to make the best decisions possible with limited resources and incomplete information.
So how in the real world do you know if you’re doing the right thing?
It Just Feels Right
When you’re doing the right thing, it will resonate with you. The right thing is not something that brings forth feelings of shame or guilt. Pay attention if you experience feelings that you need to hide your actions; that’s a sure sign that something isn’t right. The right thing may click into place suddenly or it may grow slowly until you experience more certainty. Either way, your intuition will tell you when you’re doing the right thing.
Yet the right thing is not a perfect choice. A singular selection that makes everything better. At some point, you have to release the notion of perfect and simply do the best you can.
It’s Not Coming From a Place of Fear or Anger
Sometimes fear tells us that something is right in an effort to avoid confrontation or discomfort. Similarly, anger can maintain a convincing argument for a particular course of action by creating a sense that you are responsible for doling out punishments. But the right thing comes from a quiet and sure mind. The right thing may call for consequence, but it does not come from a place of vengeance. The right thing may require distance, but it is because of a fear of approach.
Do not expect appreciation or even understanding from others even when you’re doing the right thing. If they have become accustomed to your enabling, they will certainly rebel. If you’re refusing to shield someone from consequence, they will place blame. Just as the response does not make something wrong, it also cannot alone tell you that it’s right.
It is in Alignment With Your Purpose and Goals
Something can be good and still not be the right thing for you if it does not match up with your bigger picture. Be honest with yourself and stay true to your goals. Make sure that your actions align with your intentions.
Let go of any expectation for immediate change. The right thing can take time. And even then, what you hope for may never happen. Trust in the process and release the result.
It is Reality-Based and Accepts Your Locus of Control
The right thing is rooted in reality, anchored firmly in the soil and accepting of its limited reach. The right thing is limited to what you can control and is accepting of that responsibility.
The right thing is not helping someone so much that they can no longer help themselves. The right thing is not seeking to change another or asserting that you know what is right for somebody else. The right thing is not wishful thinking, coming from a place of make believe and blind hope.
The right thing may not be easy. You may find that others prefer to live in a land of fantasy. Doing the right thing can be lonely, isolating.
Yet it’s also empowering. Because when you are doing the right thing, you have nothing to hide. From others. And especially from yourself.