“You have to do the right thing instead of the good thing.” I heard myself saying to my friend Cimona the other day. I was trying to help her through a difficult situation at her workplace. The problem was that one of her colleagues was taking advantage of her, which made her upset.
The guy was leaning on my friend and making her do all his work. She found it exhausting to drag his weight around but didn’t complain for the fear of hurting him. I advised her to warn the guy and, if he does not yield, do the right thing and take the matter to her superiors.
I know Cimona for quite some time now. She is the kind of person who goes out of her way to help someone in need. But sometimes, she gets run down by the same guys she helped out, making her miserable.
We have all been through such situations, haven’t we?
Doing the right thing
The right thing and the good thing are not identical. As we know, good stems out of empathy, whereas right abides by rules. We may have to bend, even break these man-made rules if we are to do good; because we know the right thing can sometimes be heartless.
For instance, imagine that you found your co-worker thieving petty cash from the company. The right thing is to inform the company; whereas, the good thing is to try and talk him out of it. If you choose the right thing, he might get fired. The good act may convince him to it give up and thus save him from humiliation.
We all have the innate tendency to do good to others. Altruism is coded into our DNA. However, sometimes, like in the workspace, opportunists see our good nature as a weakness and take advantage of it. As fallible human beings, when our good-naturedness is exploited repeatedly, we get offended. We risk becoming sour in all relations in the long run.
The way out of this problem is to opt for the right thing. It is even necessary for some situations. In my friend’s case, everyone would agree that helping out her colleague is good, but letting him be a parasite can be disastrous. We have to do the right thing and pull back our helping hands in time to avoid him stabbing on it.
Doing the good thing
However, is this ‘I will only do the right thing’ approach applicable everywhere? Certainly not. We will not find it difficult to understand that right things can be brutal and can sever the relation forever.
“If you are afraid of being lonely, don’t try to be right.”
Especially with our friends or family, we have to lean towards the good thing. It is because we have the moral responsibility to forgive and correct them. If we get into an argument, the good thing is to concede and compromise, even if we are on the right side of the matter.
Easier said than done, isn’t it? As in profession, in relations also we risk getting frustrated. But the effort we put in will foster the relationship in the long run; because it is not winning or losing, but the long-term relations that matter. Love never goes unrewarded.
So what is it that you should do, the right or the good thing? It is totally up to you.
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