Tickling the Tiger

17 May

Right is right, and wrong is wrong. This is undeniable. In a lot of cases we all agree. For instance, murder is wrong, stealing is wrong, and cheating is wrong. But the trouble is, except for the extremes, what I think regarding right and wrong may not be what you think. I’m clear on my values, and you are clear on yours. Putting them together, they may not match, and there’s the rub. But we have to make our own decisions regarding right and wrong. We each have the privilege of choosing for ourselves. I may not agree with what you think is right, you may not agree with me. That’s the reality of living with others.

Whatever we deem to be right for us, deserves our respect. If it’s something we value, we need to honor it. Otherwise we can twist our lives up in ways that make it hard to discern not only right from wrong, but where we are, and where we’re going. Sometimes, we make decisions that skirt the line, and find ourselves in situations that threaten to compromise what we really want. For instance, if we are married, we may determine that extramarital affairs are wrong. We’re not going to do that. But then someone at the office that we’ve noticed several times, asks us to lunch. It’s not like it’s a date, it’s work. We don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, so we go, and have a great time. Then, because we had such a good time, they ask us again the next week, and we go again. Before long, we find ourselves lunching, and chatting with them on a regular basis. And then we feel it – that pull. The draw to get closer to them. And the thought of an extramarital affair creeps into our thoughts, and unless we’re very careful, we may begin to entertain it. We’ve gone all the way from believing that was wrong, to possibly now, considering it.

If we don’t draw a hard line between what we determine is right, and what is wrong, we may find ourselves in situations like this. We’re tickling the tiger, hoping it won’t bite. Getting close enough to the edge to feel the thrill, and sure we won’t step over the line. Of course, we all know how that goes. Once we’ve crept so close to the edge, it’s very easy to take the final step. We’ve all seen this, or even experienced it. After the situation has gone too far, people often say things like, “It just happened,” or “I couldn’t help it,” both of which are patently untrue. Nothing just happens in situations like this. We plan for them, step by step, inch by inch, and despite the danger we keep going forward.

Today if you feel your values being tested, if you think you might be stepping away from what you truly want for yourself, stop. Just stop, and think again. Don’t risk destroying the choices you’ve made, the person you want to be, or compromising your future. Make your decisions carefully. If you’re tickling the tiger already, thinking about doing something you know is wrong for you, stop now, and re-evaluate the long term ramifications. Nothing we do disappears the instant it’s done. All our decisions stay with us. Forever. Your choices are valuable, and critical. Make them well. You’ll be happier if you do. Tickling the tiger is only fun until it bites. Then the scar lasts forever, and you will never be the same again. Remember who you are. Choose carefully. Create the future you really want by choosing well today.

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