Struggling to do the right thing? How to cope when life goes wrong

Is it ever right to do the wrong thing? Maybe the question you should be asking yourself is “are you doing something right, or are you doing the right thing”? Confused? Let us explain.

You could be struggling to complete a task: are you struggling because you are doing it wrong? For example, are you unable to open a jar because you are twisting the lid the wrong way? Eventually we all learn ‘left is loose and right is tight’. Knowledge is the key that helps us to complete a task the right way.

When it comes to doing the right thing, quite often it’s more a question of morals. My parents weren’t the only people to tell their children that the ice-cream van only plays music when he has run out of ice-cream – this was usually because there was no cash in the house, or any loose change was destined for the electric meter, mind you.

My biggest moral dilemma was when I was faced with telling my best friend that her husband was cheating on her. That was a tough decision to make and now we both agree I did the right thing in telling her. Don’t get me wrong, I know relationships come to a natural end or fail. But what I can’t abide is a person ‘road testing’ a new life partner before they have ended their relationship with the current one – that’s just cruel. I struggled for days before I told her. Humans are not like cars and we should not think it’s acceptable to test-drive a new human as we look to trade-in our lives for a different one.

Then we have doing the wrong thing right – this doesn’t make it even more right. For example, learning how to throw a really hard punch so you can smack someone in the face who pisses you off is not the right thing to do, even if it can feel like it momentarily. That’s just doing the wrong thing and making it even more wrong – perfecting your street-fighting skills does not make your violence right. The authorities will hardly congratulate you on your honed fighting form as you face a fine or custodial sentence.

So maybe it’s better to do the right thing wrong, often resulting in rather interesting consequences. You might buy the wrong book or CD for a friend as a gift and introduce them to a new genre or writer. You could accidently add the wrong herbs or spices to a meal and instead create a culinary surprise that was actually rather tasty.

Sometimes even doing the right thing can go pear-shaped and no matter how hard you try, you just keep digging yourself into a hole, so here are some top tips for when everything starts to go wrong:

  • Some things are still going right
    When it feels like everything around you is going wrong, it’s very easy to focus on the bad stuff. Look for the positives as there will always be something right in your life, even if it’s something small.
  • You always have some control
    You might not be in total control of the situation, but you can control how you react and what you do next. Don’t waste your time and energy on the things you can’t control.
  • You’ve probably dealt with worse
    This won’t be the first time you have dealt with a semi-disaster and it probably won’t be the last. You have dealt with problems in the past and lived to tell the tale. No matter how this feels right now, remind yourself that it won’t last forever.
  • You can always ask for help
    Never be afraid to reach out to friends, family, colleagues or even neighbours. It might be hard, but asking for help is not a weakness and is often the best way to deal with a problem. Be specific about what you need – most people are kinder than you think and will be only too pleased to offer you the emotional support or practical help that you need.
  • You can handle it
    You really can handle tough situations and quite often do so without giving it a second thought. Don’t let your negative emotions pull you down and push away any feelings of anger, disappointment or fear. Pull your socks up, put your brave pants on or do whatever you need to do to boost that confidence that is lurking inside of you.
  • It doesn’t mean you are failing
    Just because you are struggling, it doesn’t mean you are failing. Sometimes you feel you are totally winning at life, but then a big bill will come in you weren’t expecting, wheels fall off a project at work and life’s dominoes come crashing down all around you. Put the brakes on the negative thoughts and remind yourself that this is just temporary.
  • Don’t panic
    Press pause on any big decisions, sit tight and banish the doom and gloom from your mind. Instead, focus on what you want your life to look like when you’ve got it all back on track again. Don’t allow yourself to unravel and instead eat good food, spend time with good people and get a good night’s sleep. A new day and a clear mind can work wonders.

Sometimes troubles in life can be a blessing in disguise – maybe breaking up with your partner was the catalyst for a whole new life, or maybe the COVID-19 pandemic was the push you needed to set up your own business or helped you to wind down and enjoy the more simple things.

Hard times may knock us on our backsides, but we can always come back stronger and wiser.


Published by So Just Be

Switch off the day and So Just Be

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