Most parents have used the phrase, "there's a right way and wrong way to do anything.” Of course, our point is that our way is the right way.
When we consider the literal meaning of right and wrong, it leaves a lot of room for assumptions. Merriam-Webster defines the word right as “being in accordance with what’s just, good, or proper; acting in accordance with truth or facts; being in good physical and/or mental health; most desired or favored.” The meaning of left is the opposite of right. So, if it’s not right, it’s left.
Now that we’ve been reminded of the definition of right, we’re left with determining who sets the standard for what is right and what is left or wrong. Who makes that determination? God? The law? Scholars? Researchers? Who?
If you chose God, then the question becomes whose god. If we say the law, it’s necessary for us to keep in mind that although it was said that the laws were made to protect us, let us not forget the political side of our legal system. If we choose a scholarly approach or one based on research, we must also consider that findings are being updated often as the continual search for information is fulfilled daily.
To alleviate or decrease the conundrum regarding right and wrong, we usually turn to family and friends for their insight. But what gives them the authority on what’s right or wrong for me, my life, and my personalized set of circumstances? Maybe we go to family and friends for their advice as validation for the unspoken choices we've already made.
Because there is a notion that therapists give advice, I’m often faced with questions about “am I right for thinking this or saying that or feeling this way.” My response will always be a reframing of the question to help one find their own truth which is “what’s right for them.”
Each of us determines what is right as we store facts gathered from thoughts and feelings shaped by experiences. Some of those experiences include poorly made decisions but those were opportunities for learning.
Learn to trust yourself. Have confidence in your God-given ability to reason. Some of you may find this difficult because you haven’t forgiven yourself for some less-than-favorable outcomes in the past. Consider what your core values are, and you will know what’s right for you. This very practice helps us become less judgmental and more accepting, compassionate, and humble. It’s not about breaking the laws nor casting traditions aside. This is an act of bravery and self-discovery.
Make an appointment with a certified coach or licensed clinician when you are ready to take this journey of self-discovery and learn what is right for you.