Sometimes there’s nothing worse than doing the right thing. If you are a decent person, this battle happens quite often, and in various forms. For example, how many times how you taken the proverbial ‘high road’ to avoid a conflict with a friend or family member, even though you knew you were right? How many times have you allowed a colleague to take credit for a project (even though you were the most integral and hardest working) to avoid looking like a whining loser?
We’ve all discovered our limits of ‘acceptable loss’ in this regard. What I mean is, we all understand that a given number of times per week or month, we’ll have to take a back seat and avoid a conflict or situation for the betterment of the whole. Avoiding that conflict with a friend will benefit the network of friends greater than standing up for your principle. Allowing the co-worker to jump to the front and take undue credit may be more worthwhile to the team than making sure everyone knows exactly who put in all the work. Being humble, modest, and laid-back are great character traits, but not all the time.
And the worst is when, after weeks, months, or even years of taking the high road in conflicts in order to ensure that the greater good is achieved, the one conflict occurs that you believe is worth fighting. But there’s a problem. You’re too smart and see what collateral damage the fight will cause. And there is a large part of you that’s starting to rationalize the damage because, for once, you want to get your way instead of ‘being the bigger person’. But you’re too humble, too understanding of the repercussions, so you do what you’ve always done, the right thing.
And it stinks. As much as you know, and the people around you know, that it is the right thing, it stinks. You’re seething with anger and resentment. Friends are telling you that you did the right thing and you should ‘feel good about your decision’, but it doesn’t help. And the worst part is nothing can be done to make it better. Eventually you’ll go through the grieving process, accept the reality of the situation, and wonder if you’ll do anything differently next time.