The musical group The Fray offers us some pretty good advice in their song All at Once. Their lyrics tells us that “sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same.” Apparently that is not so obvious to many of us.
It seems that many of us are led to believe that when we do the right thing it should be easy. The truth is, that is not always the case. Doing the right thing often takes work or is difficult in other ways.
One of the most obvious places this can be seen is in relationships. The most deceiving myth we are taught is that when we find our “perfect” relationship it will all be easy and blissful. The relationship will simply grow and flourish with absolutely no effort. Guess what…it doesn’t work that way. Relationships take hard work just to maintain, much less nurture and grow.
While we are lured into a false sense complacency, a closer look raises an interesting paradox. Why do we desire to do the least amount of work on the most important relationship of our life? When you think of it that way, you might imagine that those relationships should take the most effort. Why would we assume they will be easy?
Even in other areas of life the right decision if often the hardest. In fact, sometimes the right thing isn’t even so right…it is just less wrong than the other options. When life presents complicated situations or when we have backed ourselves into certain corners, we are left with unsatisfying options and choices. The easy path may seem like making no choice at all. But even that is a choice and often not the best one.
To be honest, our desire to make the easy choice isn’t just about thinking it should be easy. It is often a desire to avoid conflict and/or to feel good about ourselves. We choose to not be direct and honest because it is easier to avoid conflict. And then we justify it because we believe it is somehow kinder to the other person. But when we do that we are actually taking the power from the other person because they don’t have accurate information to make decisions about their own life. In effect, we make the decision for them.
The next time you need to make a decision, don’t assume that the easy way is the best. Recognize that sometimes it is difficult to achieve the good things in life. Ask yourself if avoiding conflict is really what you are seeking or if what you really want is to invest in the future, to nurture a relationship and to treat others with the respect and authenticity that you would want from them.