Doing the Right Thing for the Sake of Doing It

Human behavior fascinates me. I’m surprised, baffled and appalled by the way people behave. Each of us is different; this I know, and it’s a good thing, but when I see people behaving badly, I’m unnerved.

I’m not perfect, far from it, but I do deeply care about TRYING to do the right thing.

I had a difficult situation this weekend and was faced with a choice — do what someone close to me wanted me to do that I didn’t want to do (knowing how I’d be treated), or protect my sanity by doing what I felt was right for me. I chose the latter and I’m glad I did. It didn’t save me altogether but I had more choice than I would have had otherwise.

The situation involved an official college visit for my daughter, welcoming her and her teammates for the first time, together, on campus. Her father would be there and while I didn’t know exactly what would go down, I knew there would be unpleasantness.

I was faced with a few uncomfortable situations. My dad and I were left out of a group (me, purposely; he by association), a group we were supposed to be included in for Maddie’s sake. I did nothing; there wasn’t anything I could do. Her dad facilitated the separation.

So while I prefer trying to get along, he chooses to make things harder than they have to be. I am truly baffled that he can’t let things go. Honestly I’m not sure what needs to be let go of; things with he and I just are. We have not been together for sixteen years of her life. Maddie is eighteen now.

Why is it so hard? Why can’t he suck it up for her? I feel like he makes it about him, but I’m not him so I don’t know. I simply can’t understand and I struggle because of it. I thought life would soften throughout the years. Instead the edges feel sharper than they used to. My heart breaks because I know she wants her parents to get along. I want that for her too.

“The only person’s behavior I can control is my own” becomes my mantra.

I almost didn’t write this post for fear of who might read it, but it’s truth, and what is writing if not truth telling? It helps me make sense of life. And now that it’s been written, I must let it go. Allowing myself to relive negative situations deprives me of energy and sanity. Once is enough.

. . .

We are all doing the best we know how. Yes, even people whose behavior we can’t make sense of. We are all different. We cannot possibly understand another person’s motives and we shouldn’t try.

. . .

As always, I choose to do the right thing for the sake of doing the right thing. There’s a voice inside of me, beckoning me to do so. I recognize it as my mom’s. The difference, however, is that she did the right thing forsaking herself. I cannot, will not, give that much of me.

I will do the right thing because I feel better for it, but not at my own expense. In this situation, letting go is the only resolve. If I keep replaying it, I’m the one who hurts. I may not ‘win’, but that’s not the point anyway. In the grand scheme of things, there aren’t winners and losers. Life isn’t black and white.

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash