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Doing things the 'right way'

Jan 25, 2019 | Candice King

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For the longest time I’ve had a battle with the phrase ‘doing things the right way.’ What does that mean and who is the person responsible for judging if you’re doing things the ‘right way’ or not? In my life, I have learned that the only way to do things the right way is to do things in accordance with what is best for you and what makes you happy regardless of what that looks like to other people. This is a concept I think most people looking at you fail to understand. If I am the one living my life, the only person that should be dictating my life is me. Right?

A while ago, as I was speaking to someone - and I can’t remember the exact context of the conversation-, but he said something along the lines of ‘I wouldn’t date someone with kids. I want to make my parents proud by doing things the right way.’ Mmmm… I thought as a number of questions popped into my head.

 Questions like:

  • Shouldn’t your parents be proud of you regardless?
  • Would you feel the same way if you were a single father?
  • Would you feel the same if a single guy with no kids dated your sister who has kids?
  • Are you willing to give up someone you have strong feelings for because they have kids?

 Don’t get me wrong, to each his own; I just have an issue with the idea that someone feels that dating someone with kids is the wrong way. Someone who chooses this path isn’t going the wrong way. They are going to right way, for them.

So here’s something else for said guy to think about… You know those women that you use for ‘one thing’? Yes, those. Do you think that toying with somebody else’s child is ‘doing things the right way?’ Do you think your parents would be proud of your behaviour? Now I get that in the quest to find lasting happiness, we stumble across people who may not be able to give us everything we are looking for, BUT, I think its pretty darn crappy that you hunt to satisfy your kicks only to let that poor girl wonder what she did wrong to not be considered worthy enough of your time and attention. Stop being a shmuck as you go along your selfish journey of doing things the right way. 

Similarly, when people say things like, ‘get married before living together’, ‘have a baby after marriage’. Maybe for that particular couple living together unmarried means saving rent money from one of their places in order to save for a wedding? Maybe the couple love each other so much that they would be happy to cohabitate? Maybe that unmarried couple is told that for medical reasons, they need to have a baby now or risk never having kids? The point is, nobody knows the reason why people do what they do so stop dictating and stop judging.

 In people’s minds, life works like this: Go to school, matriculate, go to university, get a job, meet a partner, get engaged, get married, move in together, have kids and stay married regardless of whether you’re happy or not. This is the way previous generations were raised even if it was disfunctional and the sad part is that this is passed on to the next generation. Instead of teaching our kids to do what makes them happy, we are teaching them to live their lives according to how society expects them to live. This whole notion that life needs to unveil itself in a certain sequence of events is utter crap.  Stop teaching your kids that life is about how much shit they can take. Life is too short to be anything but happy.

In my mind, the ‘right way’ is based on perception. The right way is created in one’s mind and this perception differs from person to person. Life is like a piece of art, it’s subjective and not everyone has the same eye.  Trying to live your life under the term ‘the right way’ and striving for what is seemingly perfect as opposed to seeking a life that is joyful and fulfilling might leave you feeling the opposite which is sad, depressed, lonely and empty because you are so busy chasing something without actually knowing what you’re chasing.

Inevitably what happens is that you constantly question if what you’re doing is good enough for everyone else looking in. This is a vicious cycle and you will end up chasing your own tail time and time again. Focusing on trying to be perfect and trying to do things the ‘right way’ means you’re missing out on the joyful parts of life and the risk is that you won’t be happy with where you end up. The best thing about life is not the objective or the outcome but the journey to get there.

Striving to do things the right way or trying to be perfect is such a disease in these modern times. In life, we should absolutely strive to improve and grow, but that doesn’t mean giving away your happiness and joy in your attempt to reach perfection just for someone who doesn’t live your life to judge you.

As a parent, my role is to guide my kids and not dictate to them because I am not perfect and my way isn’t always the right way. At the end of the day, I don’t want my kids to resent me for telling them how to do life. They need to grow into self sufficient adults who are able to take responsibility for their own decisions. It actually annoys me to no end when grown adults blame their parents for their terrible choices. 

I feel so strongly about people dictating how you should live your life because you are a grown up. Act accorsingly. If I pay my own bills and maintain myself, there is absolutely no need for anyone to get involved in my business unless I put them there by asking for their advice. Until such time, respect me and respect my decisions and choices even if you don’t agree.

Do what makes you happy. Get that tattoo, leave that relationship, quit that job and buy that car. Break the rules. There is also something empowering about saying ‘this is no longer serving me’ and walk away.

 The saying goes, “Even if there’s only one right way to solve the problem, it might not be your way.” Words to live by.