The decision to take the high road in a situation is a very personal one. And not one that some of us can take, or at least take consistently. It’s not easy to take the high road.
For some people it may seem easy. For those of us who can’t do it as easily we may feel envious. Don’t. Taking the high road may seem morally superior or the “right thing to do” but a person’s motivation to take the high road isn’t always as a result of that. Things and people aren’t always what they seem.
There Are Reasons Behind Everything
Some people take the high road because they’re people pleasers. They can’t possibly offend anyone so just turn the other cheek and move along. It feels better to them.
Some people do it because they’re doormats. Not to be mean, but you get my point. They let people walk all over them no matter what they do, so they allow it.
Others don’t like conflict. They may not be a doormat per se, but they don’t like conflict. As a result, they won’t confront the other person.
Others don’t have healthy boundaries or even know what a boundary is so of course they’re going to allow the offender to keep on offending.
Then there are the types in their ego. In order to look good they’ll take the high road. They have a reputation to uphold, doncha know?
There are probably ten more reasons why people take the high road. My point is, it’s not always because they’re such “good” people. Not that they’re bad people, but they may not be as “good” of a person as they may seem because they are coming from a place that they are probably unaware of.
Most people pleasers for example don’t realize they are. And therefore, they don’t realize most of their actions are based on the need to please. That being said, if someone does something out of bounds, they’ll allow it so they don’t upset them. It may seem like they are such a great person for taking the high road when in reality while they’re not a bad person, they’re just doing what they’re doing because of their subconscious motivations.
If you were ever in a situation where you wanted to take the high road, but couldn’t quite get there, yet judged yourself against someone who could, consider their underlying motivations before condemning yourself.
We’re Not All Tibetan Monks!
Truly taking the high road with no underlying agenda is not an easy thing to do. It requires coming from a place of love, peace and acceptance. No judgement. No anger. Maybe a person can do it, maybe they can’t. Or maybe they don’t want to. Not because they’re a “bad” person but because the offending party is so toxic that there’s no need to have them in your life. There’s no high road to take because basically you’re cutting off the road between you and them.
That doesn’t mean you can’t love them from a distance if you choose. That doesn’t mean you can’t forgive them from a distance. Toxic people, by the way, don’t want your forgiveness. They could care less. Forgiveness is for you and you alone.
In the spiritual world we’re taught taking the high road is the “spiritual” thing to do again implying if you can’t do it, you’re bad or not high vibration enough. News flash, we’re taught a lot of things in the spiritual world that aren’t true. What about this one: to be spiritual you have to be poor. NO. We need money to survive like it or not. The two are not related. That’s a topic for another day.
Let’s be honest, few of us achieve Tibetan monk type status in this crazy world. We’re human. Things bother us. People tick us off. We can be the best that we can be, but we have emotions – even the negative ones. Suck it up, buttercup! Get used to having negative emotions. We just don’t need to dwell on them or let them dominate us.
A good friend of mine is one of the nicest people I know. Having known her for ten years, I’m in her inner sanctum. I know her – the good, the bad and the ugly. For the first few years I thought she was like a saint. Never being mean to anyone, never talking badly about anyone, never getting upset with anyone. As the years wore on, I saw her human side. She gets short-tempered and snarky just like the rest of us. Does that make her a bad person? No. Did my opinion of her go down? No. If anything it made her more human, more relatable. Does she work on herself? Endlessly. Does she try and correct it when she loses it? Yes. Even she can’t take the high road all of the time and she is one of the nicest people I’ve ever known.
We’re going to slip up. We’re going to be mean, even if just a little. We’re going to be rude sometimes. We’re going to be resistant to that high road.
Ask Yourself Two Questions
When an opportunity comes up for you to take the high road ask yourself two questions. One, what is my motivation? Check yourself. Are you the people pleaser? The doormat? The conflict averse? Or anything else? No worries if you are, just know yourself. If you are ok with taking the high road despite any ulterior motives, so be it. Taking the high road is always a good thing, even if you aren’t coming from the purest of intentions.
Two: If you’re feeling resistant to the high road, ask yourself why. If it’s a character flaw within you, maybe now is the time to address it. If the offending party has been too abusive, then maybe it’s time to cut them loose. There’s no high road then, it’s no road. That might be the best thing that you can do for yourself.
Or maybe you want to take the high road but right now you just can’t. That’s ok. Time is a great healer. Step back from the person or situation and let time heal it. When you aren’t so upset or mad then check in with yourself again. Is now the time to take the high road or have you decided that you just don’t want to deal with them again? Either way is fine. There is no right or wrong here.
If you can’t take the high road, it does not mean you are a bad person. It does not. If you feel that way, please don’t. It can mean a lot of things, but bad person generally isn’t one of them.
If you are doing it because you’re coming from a motivation such as people pleaser, maybe now is the time to re-evaluate that. Come from a place of wanting to, not to satisfy your own reasons such as avoiding conflict.
Don’t judge yourself if you can’t do it. I certainly won’t. If it takes you a while to get there, so what? There is no expiration date.
If you can’t figure out why you can’t take the high road, or why you can, then ask a friend. Or better yet, ask yourself! Your intuition! It will never let you down or steer you wrong!
If you’re not confident in your intuition, then develop it. I’ll show you how.
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