Am I Doing the Right Thing?

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.


Thank you for sharing!

3 thoughts on “Am I Doing the Right Thing?

  1. This post is the perfect timing for me! I’m just starting a new relationship, the first after my divorce, and I’ve been asking myself if I’m doing the right thing. I will be re-reading this post. Lisa I want you to know how much your posts have helped me the last several months. Thank you. Have a great day!

  2. livebysurprise – Liv is the pseudonym reformed divorcee and single mom - now married, coparenting and working mother of three. She's been featured on ScaryMommy, HuffPost Divorce, The Mid and More at
    livebysurprise says:

    It’s funny though – sometimes you really do have to just trust your gut and jump in – but on the bright side there’s usually no way to know if it would have turned out differently if you’d handled in a different way.

  3. You’re so right in saying doing the right thing does not mean it’s right for everyone, especially if it’s “our” right thing. The person I’ve been estranged from and is my biggest heartache after a brutal, cruel and unjust divorce, is my daughter from my first marriage way back when… narcissistic ex managed to brainwash her against me. She and I were as close as close could be. He apparently had been purposely poisoning her against me longer than I realized. We’ve not spoken in almost 5 years. 3 granddaughters I’ve not seen and that kills me every day. It’s out of my control, as she never even came to me to ask a single question. It’s been debilitating to me. It’s caused me to be forever taking 10 steps back instead of forward. I’ve remained silent. Left social media because I needed my own privacy. Privacy from the ex and his gf constantly trying to manipulate anyone I’ve known. Of course they were blocked long ago but the manipulation and harassment hasn’t stopped. I never have a reaction or contact anyone EVER, as we know that’s the only thing we can do with a narcissist. Not feed them any reaction. I’m excellent at that, but the loneliness and isolation are very real. I’ve tried dating on a dating site to push myself out there to do something for myself. That hasn’t worked so well and I find myself backing out more than going forward. It’s hard to explain to anyone that my own daughter has stopped all communication with me due to an ex who’s her ex step dad. It almost automatically puts the idea in people’s heads that I’m the one who’s guilty or to blame or whatever. It’s the biggest hurt after a crushing end of a marriage at this point in my life. It’s the loneliest and most empty I’ve ever felt. I’ve waited for what seems a lifetime these 5 years thinking she’d surely see things for what they are and who he is. Not happened yet and the girls are getting older, & I’m missing their day to day lives, (& they’re innocent). The only right thing I’ve known to do was not push anything and hold onto my truths and innocence until she does come to me. You can’t force a grown woman to see things in another light if she’s not been willing to at least ask or listen. I’m forever grateful I have a dog who’s my best friend and companion but she doesn’t take the place of my daughter and three beautiful little girls I need to hug every day.

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