Doing What Works

Most of us are taught to do what is right.

And then, we teach our kids to do what’s right.

We learn and then teach the “correct” actions in relation to people, laws, ourselves etc.

With laws and most rules, if we don’t do what’s right, we receive a consequence. Drive over the speed limit = get a ticket. We don’t always get caught breaking the rules. However, if you were raised Catholic like me, somewhere deep down you will likely feel you did wrong even when you aren’t caught!

At my core, I’m a rule follower. You won’t catch me speeding for the fun of it (anymore) or doing drugs. I rarely drink. I pay my bills on time and take care of my taxes. Societal rules and laws work well for the most part.

These days, I’m interested in doing what WORKS.

It works for me to pay my bills and my taxes on time. It works for me to to pay attention and not be a nuisance to others when I’m driving. It works for me to be supportive and loving to my husband and son. These are easy ones for me.

Doing what works, feels good to me.

I try to always do what works, but I still get caught up in what I believe is right.

Honestly, there is one area that I’ve been struggling with for a while: Doing what works with my mom and remaining siblings.

My family and I are interested in different things. Many times, what I believe and what they believe have caused conflict for me. Uncomfortable, yucky, accusatory and silent conflict.

Even with the conflict, I believe what is RIGHT and what WORKS is to LOVE them.

Man is that hard for me sometimes.

Lately, I’ve been laying low with my family. I’ve been staying out of interactions as much as possible, unless I can interact with love. Which means, I haven’t been interacting with them much.

I have two competing beliefs:

Doing what’s right: I should call, interact, let them know I care.

Doing what works: I am committed to loving interactions and communications.

I called my mom today. The call was fine. It wasn’t a bad call in any way. But, when I hung up, I felt yucky. So, I checked in with myself and realized I had called her from doing what’s right type of thinking.

No wonder I felt bad.

I didn’t call her from my doing what works belief. I called her from an old belief that said: “You should be nice and call your mom.” or “You should be a good girl and call your mother.”

Being nice and being a good girl SUCKS!

It feels completely shitty. I can either do what is nice or what is kind in all of my interactions with myself and other people.

I choose kindness.

Being kind feels better to both me and the other person. It’s better all around. I didn’t call my mom out of kindness. I called her out of obligation and shoulds and old rules that screw with people.

I have a note to myself to ask: Is this nice? or Is this kind? I forgot to ask myself that before I called my mom.

But it’s ok. I have my body and my feelings to steer me back on track. I can check in with any interaction to see how it feels. If it feels bad, I can ask Why? And with the awareness, I get more practice remembering to ask myself:

Is this nice? or Is this kind?

What old rules and doing what’s right beliefs do you find yourself acting from? How does it feel? Let me know on Facebook.