taking high road




Taking the high road when stuck may be difficult. It may also the best route to travel. There are periods in our lives when we may be are unable to immediately extricate ourselves from situations which are stressful and not optimal for us. Good reasons may exist to stay put for the time being. Time may be needed to help change the present situation or to find the door to exit. It is important to develop ways and means to deal with rough situations and the stress that is caused.

The first example I will explore is a job situation. If the wise decision is to cope with what is occurring at your place of employment for the moment, it helps be present and aware of your current surroundings including your coworkers.

I have noticed from my personal experiences that people react quite differently when stuck in a job. Individuals may:

Decide to embark on a person work slowdown. (This slowdown may help the person to cope. It also does impact others in the work environment as well as customers.)

Become angry at coworkers and customers. Rudeness starts to show where it had not previously.

Gossip and/or complain behind the scenes especially regarding the boss who may or may not be responsible for work conditions (especially in a corporation).

Decide he or she is entitled to goof off as much as possible (on the clock).

Use food, alcohol, or drugs outside of work to cope with the stress of the work environment.

Take the negative energy and stress out on loved ones or strangers outside of work.

Continue to do her or his best to serve customers and to benefit coworkers to make each day the best possible.

The above are not all inclusive. Of course, many individuals alternate in how they respond.

Choosing the high road when stuck is not always easy option to put in to practice! I do know that whenever I attempt to take the high road and fail, I’m grateful that I did my best. It is better than not trying to do the next right thing at all.

Urban Dictionary defines high road as:

High road refers to a higher moral ground. “Taking the high road” expression refers to one being a “class act” during a very difficult time. Those who take the high road, are demonstrating being honest, fair, and selfless while not being completely defenseless.”

I like that definition because it includes while not being completely defenseless.

The Free Dictionary defines high road as:

  1. The easiest or surest path or course: the high road to happiness.
  2. The most positive, diplomatic, or ethical course.

What is your personal meaning of taking the high road? It is not easy to be on the high road or to stay on the high road. We are humans. Frustration occurs. Stress takes its toll especially as it accumulates. Each of us can choose whether to react and how to react. A quotation comes to mind.

“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”

― Edward Everett Hale

Each of us can choose to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. These times challenge us to do the next right thing. In the present, our lives are formed. How do you want to “be”?

A second example of being stuck in a situation may be a family environment where alcohol and drug addiction is present in a loved one. This can be especially difficult in a relationship with a significant other or a child/adult child. Alanon is quite helpful in these situations. Taking care of oneself is a priority. At times, leaving the household is not possible or at least not immediately. There are methods to cope which are more positive than others. Seeking help and support may be the best option.

(Please note, I am not addressing the issues of domestic violence, physical, sexual abuse, emotional, or spiritual abuse in this blog post. Your safety is number one. These situations require different action and often immediate action.)

Others often are affected by what road we choose to take. Spiritually, as well as practically, our behavior via words, actions, and energy affect others. We are each teachers in one respect or another. Have you ever looked at yourself that way? Parents begin to realize that as soon as the child is old enough to imitate their behavior! No matter what your age, you model good or bad behaviors to those around you.

What service can each of us be to others by recognizing  ourselves as being part of a community?! Not only is our well-being important, but the well-being of each of us has importance. Hazrat Inayat Khan addresses how others learn from great teachers. (To read the entire article, see: http://wahiduddin.net/mv2/X/X_2_2.htm.)  Below is a quotation of Hazrat Inayat Khan from that article which resonates with me.

“In ancient times, the disciples of the great teachers learned by a quite different method, not an academic method or a way of study. The way was an open heart. With perfect confidence and trust they watched every attitude of the teacher, both towards friends and towards people who looked at him with contempt. They watched their teacher in times of trouble and pain, how he endured it all. They said how patient and wise he had been in discussing with those who did not understand, answering everyone gently in his own language. He showed the mother-spirit, the father-spirit, the brother-spirit, the child-spirit, the friend-spirit, forgiving kindness, an ever-tolerant nature, respect for the aged, compassion for all, the thorough understanding of human nature. This, also, the disciples learned, that no discussion or books on metaphysics can ever teach all the thoughts and philosophy that arise in the heart of man. A person may either study for a thousand years, or he may get to the source and see if he can touch the root of all wisdom and all knowledge. In the center of the emblem of the Sufis there is a heart; it is the sign that from the heart a stream rises, the stream of divine knowledge.”

— Hazrat Inayat Khan

When we are in the midst of being stuck somewhere we do not want to be, it can be extremely challenging. In the past, I would respond first with anger which I often did not show. As I healed, I began learning to not respond so much with anger. I find myself accepting what I need to accept at this moment in time. Fighting the moment was not helping me. Deciding to do my best and to allow self-satisfaction inside of me was the best option. Integrity and dignity are important personal values for myself.

I sometimes awake to a song by Sara Bareilles titled, “Chasing the Sun”. I find that no matter what the day will bring, her song reminds me that life is mean to be lived! I like the imagery her song evokes.

“You said, remember that life is not meant to be wasted

We can always be chasing the sun!

So fill up your lungs and just run

We’ll always be chasing the sun

All we can do is try

And live like we’re still alive”

(To listen to the song online, go to:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFFberbflbU.)

Each day may bring us difficulties. There are times when we may dread the start of another day. My compassion goes out to each of you who are in situations which are not the best for you.

“To thine own self be true” is written on Alcoholics Anonymous coins that people sometimes receive to mark time in sobriety. Unity, recovery and service are also shown on those coins. (http://www.aatoken.com/2011/04/aa-tokens/)

I believe it is important for all of us to look inside ourselves with truth and clarity. While life may not be easy, we have choices when it comes to our actions and words. I know how difficult this is. None of us are perfect and especially not I! I do my best. It can be helpful to have a supportive person on your side to listen to your concerns as you maneuver these periods of being stuck. As a life coach, I am here for you.

How do you personally definite high road?

Do you travel on it?

How do you feel inside at the end of the day?

Do you have self-respect and integrity?

Choosing to take the high road is an option!