My dear widow friend from Australia, Simone, posted a couple of things that hit me like a ton of bricks. The more I have thought about them, the more I have seen them as a way forward from the unanswered questions raised in my last post, when I asked, “Should you trust your fear to keep you safe, or break it as shackles that are holding you back? When does your fear teach you not to throw your life away, and when does it prevent you from living? How can you tell?” Dr. Wayne Dyer has some guidance that really rings true:

Remind yourself that the greatest technique for bringing peace into your life is to always choose being kind when you have a choice between being right or being kind. This is the single most effective method I know for having a sense of peace. And you have that choice in all your interactions.

When your higher self is present, it always promotes peace. If you have a question about whether it is your ego or your higher self speaking, the answer becomes obvious when you ask yourself, “Will this bring peace or turmoil to my life?” Peace is not found in being right or being hurt or being angry. By all means, work toward righting the wrongs you perceive, but do it with an understanding that an angry heart keeps you from knowing God on the path of your sacred quest. Peace will come to you when you are a healer rather than a judge.

Within a few minutes of seeing that, someone I don’t know tweeted something from some other person (sadly, that has now been lost in the mists of the interwebs), but together they coalesced into… this:

1. Is your choice motivated by love or fear?

If fear, is life, property or well-being REALLY at risk? If not, return to step 1.

If love or “don’t know” (often we don’t), then

2. Are you trying to be kind or be right?

Whenever you have that choice (and you always do unless life, property, or well-being are at risk), choosing to be kind creates peace, for you and everyone else.

I was so fired up by the simplicity of this idea, that I whipped up a cheesy info-graphic:

Certainly, this is not a silver bullet. The biggest hole so far that I can see is the question of “Is well-being at risk?” Clearly, that’s a loophole big enough to drive almost anything through. I mean, Hitler convinced most of Germany that the Jews were a threat to their national well-being, and look what that was used to justify. That piece in particular is going to take some real-world testing and careful reflection to see if it will stand up and not be so mushy as to render the entire exercise useless.

Not long afterwards, I had an unexpected chance to try this out. Someone I had met through online dating, and been on one date with, told me that she would like to get together again, but wanted me to know that she had just gotten together romantically with someone else. This person seemed like great “friend” material (it turned out we actually had several “real world” friends in common already), and after one date I certainly wasn’t all that invested, emotionally, but still, I was a little bummed. “Cross her off the list.” Sigh.

There was a book, written by my wonderful friend, Debra Ginsberg, that I had wanted to give her because it related to a creative project that she was working on. My first inclination on hearing this news was, “Well, fine, I’ll still have lunch with her and be friends and shit, but I’m sure as hell not going to buy her that book!” Why should I? Of course, that was “right.” I had no obligation or reason to put myself out. But what would be kind? Powell”s Books had a used copy for $5.50. I was there anyway getting a book for Ella. THAT would be kind. Plus, it would be EASY. Why not? No good reason. So I did it. Blew her away, but that’s not the point. It felt good. To me. It helped solidify our friendship and reinforce the connection. Easy-peasy.

So, in my more weighty decisions, I’m trying to evaluate my choices the same way. Sure, I may want something or more of something from someone. And I may have every “right” to want and ask for it. And I could easily judge them for not giving me what I have so rightfully asked for. But is it kind? Is it motivated by love, or by fear? A lot of the time, I’ve been coming up 0 for 2. Easy-peasy.

5 Responses to “Love or Fear? Kind or Right?”

  1. carolyn says:

    been pondering this for days now….have nothing intelligent to add, but, thank you for writing it. it’s just right.

    • Jay says:

      Thanks, Carolyn. Easier in theory than in practice, that’s for sure. So far consulting this process has led me to *not* do things I would have previously done without thinking. I’m hoping that’s a good thing…

  2. Kim Go says:

    I love it. I call this kind of thing “Living Generously”… open hearts make open doors…

  3. Kim Go says:

    Open hearts make open doors…

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