Thursday, 6 August 2015

Doing The Right Thing.....

Recently I asked a friend of mine what they thought doing the right thing meant. After a few stabs at different explanations, they concluded that doing the right thing 'is telling somebody the truth.' The truth that has to be uttered regardless of how the person on the receiving end might take it and/or be affected by it. I probed further and asked what if the truth led to disastrous consequences e.g. suicide. Of course I was playing devils’ advocate and the answer I got was if one listened to their gut and act upon it then it was still the right thing to do. Still unsatisfied I asked how they could be certain that what their gut nudging them to was indeed the right thing. They told me that the gut is never wrong as long as reasoning and justifications from somewhere doesn't come into it. They said that our decisions have to be led our feelings. Feelings that come from the pit of your stomach and that's how you know you're doing the right thing. Well, in the end I had to embrace their opinion. It was after all their opinion.

It's a tricky one because what is the right thing anyway? According to whose standards do we measure right and wrong? If you’re Christian like me then the right thing is according to His ten commandments- Thou shall not steal, kill, and commit adultery and so on. When I was growing up it was always being hammered into me that I should always do the right thing. I was taught what was right and what was wrong. Our society sets standards and expectations and it is these that determine what is right and what is wrong. But I’ve since discovered that this so called right thing isn’t always the easiest of things to do regardless of what that may be.

Sometimes it means putting all your wants aside. And there are times doing the right thing demands that you put the wish of others before your own. Have you ever had to put your pride aside and apologise for something you knew you had not done wrong because it was the right thing to do? Have you ever had to say no, give up something or someone because you knew it was the right thing to do? Not always the easiest of things to do. A story is told about a homeless man (and it’s a true story) who picked up a lot of cash but returned it to its rightful owner because it was the right thing to do. Even though he had nothing the homeless man recognised the fact that the money didn't belong to him. Perhaps he felt a tinge having to give it all up especially in his predicament, perhaps he didn't. It really doesn't matter because what he did is what he decided was the right thing to do according to his standards. And those were very high standards in my book. So what was poignant about that scenario? The man was rewarded immensely. His honesty evoked acts of generosity in the hearts of many in the end he was indeed a rich man. That, my dear friends, restored my faith in human kind. The response made me realise that when it comes to the crunch, people do recognise the right thing when they see it.

So how do we know we are doing the right thing? If the homeless man example is anything to go by it is by the response we get from those around us. We have something special that distinguishes us from animals and that thing is called a conscience. That inner voice that whispers to us when we know we aren't doing the right thing. The way our heart beats. That's how we know. We may ignore it for a while but eventually it comes back and pokes at us again and again. It will keep knocking until we can bear it no longer. But there are times we as human beings ignore this voice, repeatedly, and in the end we destroy ourselves be it physically, spiritually or emotionally. We lose our self-respect, our dignity as well as faith in ourselves. I've said it and I will say it again - doing the right thing is not always the easiest of things to do. You will lose friends, family members and there are times you will get hurt, but I would like to believe that in the end what matters is that you will be able to look at yourself in the mirror and smile knowing that you've done the right thing by you and by others, difficult as it may be!

Keep on doing the right thing!


  1. Good job on this blog, Bertha.I wanted to tell you I nominated you for a blogging award. Please stop by to find out more.

    1. Thank you so much Deanie. I've been nominated for the ZIWA award and could use your vote my dear friend. The link is below: