Which is Better?

I sit here tonight thinking about that.  Should I do what I think is right or what is best for me?  It is something that I have thought about a lot over the years.  Most of the time I did what was best for me.  But I am starting to wonder about that.

As people we do tend to shy away from what hurts us.  I am reminded of when I went against what my mom told me and put my hand on the stove burner.  I was curious person and wanted to know myself.  After that one time of doing it, I understand the pain that it caused and never wanted to do that again.

With the hurt and pain I suffered at an early age, there was this real need not to have that happen again.  So I did what was best for me.  Do things that I knew wouldn’t cause me any more pain or hurt.  Play it safe when possible.  There was exceptions when something that I felt very strongly being the right thing to do, but for the most part my life was about doing what was best for me.  Especially if I didn’t know what the outcome would be in my choices.

But as I look back on my past actions, I wonder about the wisdom of playing it safe.  Sure in doing so I had the belief that I was playing it safe.  But often playing it safe caused more harm down the line in missed opportunities.  I hurt other people in the process of thinking about what was safe for me.

I can understand why I was selfish and played it safe.  It is hard to think about anything else but the pain when that is all you have to help make the decision.  That was the case when I was younger, all my experience showed me was the pain and nothing else.  It is natural for a person to not want to go through that again.

But let me return to the example of me putting my hand on the stove burner.  Yes it was very painful and burned.  But I healed from doing it.  Took a long time but I did heal.  Even the scars from doing it are faded and I don’t even notice them now.  The main thing was that my hand survived.

Now that I am older, I believe that I can survive the hurt.  There will be pain.  When the pain goes away there will be scars.  But even the scars fade with time.   So playing it safe no longer seems as important anymore.  Instead what seems more important is to do what I think is right.

Yes doing what I think is right might be painful to me, but I will survive unless I am dead.  Plus doing what I think is right, regardless of it causes pain or not, then I can live with myself.  I will not feel guilty about it.  So with that in mind, I have a decision about what I am going to do in regards to the decision I have been thinking about tonight.

A Dark Sideline

After writing this sentence

I hurt other people in the process of thinking about what was safe for me. 

There was a dark side of me that shouted in my head that doesn’t matter.  The side of me born from the experiences where people hurt me severely and from that could care less about hurting other people.

Is it bad that there is a part of me that thinks that?  Well like a  lot of other things, our minds reach conclusions based on what we know and past experience.  Therefore it is natural that there is a part of me that thinks that the pain I inflict on others is no matter because experience has shown me that people didn’t care when inflicting pain on me.  But that is just one thought among others that decide what I think I should do.    For example I think it is wrong to hurt people for our own gain and also I am my own person therefore my actions are not dictated (well I try) by the actions of others.  In other words it is not “monkey see, monkey do” for me.

There are limits

It is a great idea to do what I think is right for me over what is best.  But that is not always the case.  There are limits and sometimes I find myself reaching the point where I have to be selfish.  One example is my birth family.

This is one I rarely if ever talk about anymore.  Often people are confused or think I am mean because I have cut all ties with my birth family after my mother’s death.    So now when the subject comes up, I just say most of them dead.  At my age that is an easy way to dodge the subject.

I had reach my limit of doing what was right and keep relations going with my birth family long before my mother’s death.  I often thought that I should just cut all ties.  But there was other things that keep me from doing that.  Among them the hope that maybe the relationship could be salvaged and my mother.

But over time, I realized that salvaging our relationship was more of a pipe dream and I gave up hope of that happening.  That left my mother as the reason why I keep the relationship with my birth family.  It was an necessary evil for me.

But when my mother died and her affairs where done, then there was no reason to keep the relationship going with my birth family.  I still think it was the wrong thing to do, but I had reached my limit with them.  That acting in my self interest was better than being right.

Even now so many years later, it is still what I think is best course of action for me.  Was it the best course of action?  For me yes because I had reached my limit.  But who knows what would have happen if I decided otherwise.  Maybe things would have improved between us and by giving up I missed that chance.  But that is the nice and deceptive thing about maybe is that it can lead us down the yellow brick road that makes second guess our actions.

Instead I will not think about maybe, but instead think about what I was thinking at the time I made that decision.  I don’t see anything wrong with it and therefore it was best decision for me.