How to Take the High Road

To take the high road means doing the right thing even if it’s not popular or easy. Many times, it’s not easy at all! Yet, it’s vital you do.

Taking the high road is about creating a foundation for ourselves that is strong and flexible, and one that allows us to connect with a deeper part of ourselves. Often times, people are completely unaware that we’ve gone out of our way to take the high road. It is a journey that goes unnoticed by others. It’s a choice we make for ourselves.

I have to say, I’ve been faced with very uncomfortable situations where taking the high road was the last thing I wanted to do. There is no instant gratification gained from ignoring the hurt a friend, family member or colleague has caused me.

Recently, I found out that someone has been talking about me behind my back, saying untrue things that put me in bad light. I can’t express how many times I wanted to lash out. But, I bit my tongue because nothing positive would come out of me confronting this person.

I can’t control the hurtful actions of others, but I certainly can control my reaction to them.

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Everything in me wants to tell her she can’t get away with treating me with such disrespect.

But, ultimately, I know confronting in such a hostile way will only cause ugliness in the overall landscape of my life. It will leave me bitter and sorry in the end, sorry that I lost my self-control and allowed her to push my buttons.

taking the high roadIn the long run, taking the high road allows me to move forward knowing I didn’t cause further harm to a potentially volatile situation. It also creates increased confidence that allows me to make better choices.

Taking the high road is not always easy.

I can’t say I’ve taken the high road always. I’ve taken that lower path and suffered the consequences of my actions, even if in silence. I’ll admit, and am embarrassed to, that I’ve allowed myself to get sucked into the vortex of gossip.

It’s always hurtful. Nothing good comes out of it.

It’s a situation I avoid at all cost now, and will not listen to someone discredit another in my presence. I will walk away. Knowing what it feels like to be on the horrible, defenseless end of it, really puts things into perspective.

I won’t always get my actions and reactions right, but, if I can at least make a conscientious effort to do the right thing as much as possible, then it’s a win-win for anyone involved.

Energy thrives on the powerful magnetism of intention. As living beings, we are powerful beyond our recognition. With that power comes the gift of grace or the evil of hurt. We choose our direction. Accessing a new direction is easy. We only have to think of spreading our proverbial wings and lifting off into the bright blue sky, and there accompanying our sense of freedom is the wind as our new companion and guide. It offers us the freedom to soar, dipping in and out of points that interest, that call us into their circle, and that beckon for our attention. We may survey the area, scanning its complexities and potential effects, deciding its worthiness in our journey. If we land in in its vortex without careful assessment, we risk losing the wind as our guide, falling prey instead to the power of our new circumstance. Caught up in the beauty and temporary high from its swift and intoxicating buzz, we stand captive to only its voice, its strength, its control. If resilient and trained, we have a fighting chance to break free from its luring, one-centered grip and seek proper nourishment from our decided source, found only in the invisible current of the air that ebbs and flows under our wings. The more we secure ourselves in the embrace of free thought and will, the higher we soar and the wider our view becomes on the world that exists outside our potentially narrow perspective. When we place ourselves in the pivotal energy of grace, we grant ourselves a world class view of what friendship and love truly offer, which is a symbiotic fluid of dignity, integrity and respect.

Setting the Record Straight

When someone attacks you, it’s natural to jump into defensive mode. You want to defend against the lies or hurt this person is spreading. You want to correct the facts and speak the truth. But, here’s the tricky part to that – when you respond to the lowly behavior of another, you pull yourself into an argument that could end up being a messy game of blame and accusations. Personal matter may be slung around, character may be questioned, past arguments may rise, and what you end up with in the end is a slaughterhouse of irreversible damage that cannot be undone.

This is why I choose to take the high road at all possible times.

Benefits of Taking the High Road

  • You will not lower yourself to the hurtful level of others.
  • You will show you are a respectful person who refuses to hurt others intentionally.
  • You will build trust with those who see you will not cause pain to even those who cause you pain.
  • You will gain a sense of peace by avoiding toxic people.
  • People will see you are a trustworthy person who refuses to sling bad vibes.
  • Your reputation will stand for itself and make it nearly impossible for others to believe the negativity others may share about you.

How to Take the High Road

Your actions don’t have to mirror the actions of others. In other words, if someone is being hurtful to you, you don’t have to be hurtful back. You can choose to respond without negativity. You can also choose not to respond at all. Ask yourself if it’s even worth further interaction? If it’s a good friend and you want to salvage the relationship, perhaps respond with empathy. If the friendship is over, why waste your precious energy responding?

How to respond without negativity

  • Place yourself in a calm state of mind. Take as long as you need. Take deep breaths. Meditate. Pray. Think of a redeeming quality of the person. Be sure to stay calm and loving in your heart. Avoid attack words or bringing up old arguments.
  • Deal only with the factual elements of the current situation.
  • Approach your words with love. It’s very easy to get caught up in an attack. Wrap your thoughts and intentions in love, imagining a peaceful outcome.
  • Clarify wrongful facts with a sense of confidence. 
  • Decide how you want this to end. Do you want to nurture a friendship? Do you want to walk away without a friendship, but with your peace intact?

Here’s the thing about taking the high road: you are building your reputation to be one that is fair, trustworthy and at the best interest of others. No one can take that away from you. Your actions speak volumes. It’s critical to stay in control and act according to how you want the world to know you. In the end, no one will be able to destroy you to anyone worthy of your friendship because a worthy friend will see past the lies and hurt and embrace the bright light you shine on the world.

Over to you: Have you had to deal with a difficult situation where you’ve taken the high road?

Wishing you the very best,

Suzie Carr, novelist

4 replies
  1. Joanna
    Joanna says:

    Thanks for the post Suzie and sharing !!! Really powerful message that we can all learn from and I can certainly benefit from putting into practice more. Like you say though, not always easy !!! Maybe i should ask “what would Suzie do ?!?!?”

    Reply
  2. Amy
    Amy says:

    I truly appreciate when you show the painful truths in life that all of us encounter and then follow it up with how to navigate through it. Your “How to respond without negativity” bullet points are spot on. It is amazing how the brain may know these things but the heart sometimes has difficulty actually doing them.

    Reply
  3. Joy
    Joy says:

    Thank you Suzie! It’s always hard when you’re in a situation where someone is truly hurtful. It’s even worse when it’s someone especially close to you. Taking the high road allows you to live in peace with yourself and not stagnate in bitterness. It is hard to remain silent too. Some look at you and say “there goes the martyr, never defends herself” while others see the strength it takes to hold your head high. Someone once said “Forgive. Not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace.”

    Reply

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