Right v Right

There is a difference between having the right to do something and doing the right thing.

As an example, we all have the right to speak what’s on our minds but we know that by doing so we may hurt someone in the process. As a result, that relationship, along with others around it, may never be the same.
The same holds true with our actions and decisions. Just because we have the right to do certain things, doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. The best leaders, the most loyal friends, the smartest minds, understand that simple point. Sometimes, exercising your ability or authority without considering the feelings of others, makes you seem smaller in the eyes of those around you. Sooner or later those decisions impact your life in negative ways, especially when a pattern of insensitivity or disrespect becomes obvious.

The problem is once you say or do something like this, you can’t put the hurt back in the bag. It will always be there.

In many ways, life is not that difficult. Kindness is easy.

It’s not about having the right to do something. It’s about doing the right thing.

44 thoughts on “Right v Right

  1. Wendy

    So true. I sometimes feel sorry for the folks so caught up in “me, mine, my”. They trample about trumpeting their rights, and they don’t get anything but alienated for it.

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  2. colinandray

    If only our education system could incorporate tact and diplomacy into its program. If only our children could be taught about sensitivities and compassion. If only ….. but, in the absence of such subjects at school, couldn’t/shouldn’t the parent’s take on that responsibility?
    Of course I have just talked myself in a full circle because most of the offenders are adults and, I suspect, a large proportion of those are parents. Let us pray for some really powerful role models in the immediate future, before we degenerate into a totally self-centred and inconsiderate species of life.

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    1. George Post author

      Lol, yes you did come full circle and you’re right, most of the offenders are adults. I’ve found that while some young children can be insensitive they usually show compassion for others. Adults, on the other hand, are more calculated in their actions and their choices have longer term effects, I think.

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  3. Ann Coleman

    Exactly! Sometime we get so focused on “getting what it rightfully mine” that we forget how easy it is to hurt others in that process. We don’t always need to exercise our rights, but we do always need to do the right thing. And when we don’t know what the right thing is, the easy question to ask ourselves is, “what is the kind thing to do?” Thanks for another great post that helps keep me pointed in the “right” direction!!!!

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    1. George Post author

      Thank you, Ann. I think you nailed it saying that we should ask ourselves what the kind thing to do is. Unfortunately, selfish is what selfish does.

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    2. colinandray

      Hi Anne – If I may, I would like to add to your Comments by saying that another alternative is to ask yourself the question “If the roles were reversed, how would I like to be treated?” 🙂

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  4. Carol Ferenc

    Oh, this resonates with me, George. It’s so difficult dealing with someone who persists in living life with that chip on the shoulder, always looking out for “me, me, me!” It makes for a toxic relationship.

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  5. In My Cluttered Attic

    Very astute observation, George. For a lot of folks decorum is not a practice, particularly when they feel they have the right. And the diplomatic approach tends to get sacrificed, especially when someone feels they’re correct about something.

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  6. jan

    People who stand up and say “I have the right to be an asshole” should be reminded of the many excellent people who died giving them that right. Perhaps asked, would you die giving that right to someone you disagreed with? If not then they prove themselves to be cowards and hypocrites which I suspect would be the case.

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  7. TheMoonLitHowl

    If I have said this before, please excuse a repeat, but………when I used to live in Atlanta I lived in an HOA neighborhood. They can be good or they can be bad. Depends on who is running the show (or board). We went through a period when those on the board definitely had a power trip going. Some things they did, or tried to do, they simply did not have the “right” to do. Others? They had the right, as far as the rules were written, but as I reminded them, were those decisions morally and ethically right? One lady in my neighborhood got quite angry that I would dare to speak out against these board members and wrote me a very angry email. Basically telling me to keep my mouth shut. My first response was to reply with anger. Then I paused. Caught my breath, and simply said to her we each had a right to agree or disagree. We each had right to voice our opinions, particularly given we each paid dues to pay for said HOA. I told her, “I don’t know the exact quote but it says something like, “I may not agree with what you have to say, but I would fight to the death your right to say it”. I took her completely by surprise with that one! She thanked me for my response, told me I had given her much to think about, and……….we became friends after that. 🙂

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  8. Kim

    Totally agree. It’s right along the lines of how I feel about people feeling like they “deserve” things. I’m in Florida right now and went to a bathing suit store, where the sales lady also tried to convince me to purchase a matching zip up cover up for an additional $100. She told me I deserved it. I told her it had nothing to do with deserve and everything to do with my budget. We live in such an entitled society.

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