The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do.
The hard part is doing it.-H. Norman Schwarzkopf
My experience tells me that what Schwarzkopf says is true–the right thing to do is inside of me, something that I know internally and instinctively. Knowing this should make it easier to make tough decisions when they face me. It often isn’t, though, especially when my decisions affect others in ways that they see as negative or hurtful.
I may feel that my current job is not right for me, or I may have ethical problems with the work that I do. But how will it affect my family if I leave the job? I may feel that I need to turn in a neighbor for certain criminal activity, but if that person is a friend, what kind of friend will I seem to be? I may know that a certain “opportunity” isn’t in my child’s best interests, and I may deny permission, which puts me in a pretty negative situation.
Situations like these make doing the right thing the “hard part.” Sometimes we want nothing more than to maintain peace–peace of mind and peace of heart, and introducing these types of conflict into our lives can be difficult. But if we know in our hearts that we are doing what is right and best, then we have to do so or face other consequences further down the road.
Trust yourself. Trust your heart. You have in you everything you need to make the hard decisions, as long as you make sure that you get enough information to back up what you’re doing, and as long as you don’t make them based on self-interest. Your conscience is a wonderful gift; if you truly listen to it, you will do the right things.
Questions to ponder:
1. Is what’s “right” for you always right for others, too?
2. Why is it sometimes so hard to do the right thing?
3. Why do others often try so hard to influence our decisions and actions?
For further thought:
Conscience is the root of all free courage;
if we would be brave, let us obey our conscience.-James F. Clark