If you’re like me, and you have a tendency to get stuck on what the “right” thing means, this quote as a standalone mantra could be tricky.
But from an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy standpoint, the “right” thing would be defined as the workable thing. That is, the thing that moves you towards your values, towards who and how you want to be in the world, in service of those relationships and parts of your life that matter most to you. The “right” thing is the thing that, though maybe not the easy or comfortable thing, does not come with the cost of making your life smaller and of moving you away from what CSAM director and author of Be Mighty, Dr. Jill Stoddard refers to as “the me you want to be.”
In her book, Untamed, Glennon talks about this as your “knowing.” The core of you that knows who you are, what you want or need, and what matters most to you. Sometimes that knowing is buried under layers of learning and socialization, stories in your mind about what you “should” do or what others want from you, or strategies designed to shield you from pain, anxiety, and discomfort. But if we get curious about what is underneath all of that, if we start to get curious about our pain and what it has to say, we can find that knowing. In fact, when we get curious about our pain, we get valuable information about what’s most important to us. Because it wouldn’t hurt if we didn’t care. Our values lay on the flip side of our pain; they are two sides of the same coin.