Recently I found myself in a position of frustration. Someone in my life was making difficult demands and was surrounding those demands with a less-than-positive attitude. I had been in this situation before with this person and, in the past, we had “gone to war,” created a toxic atmosphere for each other, and ended up not speaking for a while. I’m sure there are others reading this who have been in a similar situation and can identify. It’s mentally taxing, emotionally damaging, and physically draining! In short, it’s just not fun!
Over the past several years, I’ve been taking a more focused look inward at how I conduct myself personally and professionally. I have made an effort to evaluate how I approach tasks and projects and how I view myself myself as I go about tackling things on a daily basis. Then in June I wrote a blog about making decisions and how, when we pare down each situation we are presented with, our decision is a simple yes or no.
The words I wrote for that blog started to float back as I attempted to reconcile the recent unpleasant situation in my mind. In the blog, I wrote that getting to the simple answer of yes or no could be difficult and fraught with emotion—and that’s exactly where I was with this situation! I was allowing all of the effects of the situation to cloud my decision between continuing to engage in the disagreement OR “taking the high road” and removing myself gracefully.
So I made a decision. I said to myself: “Yes, I’m going to take the high road here. I’m going to remove my emotion from this situation, do what I can to address and satisfy the demands I am presented with, then just move on—without fighting, without saying things I will regret later, and without creating and cultivating a toxic environment.” Once I made this decision, I felt much better and the atmosphere cleared.
The biggest learning point for me was that what I wrote in June about decision-making was still true! Also, I can only be responsible for my actions—no one else’s. In my mind, my responsible action was to make the decision to take the high road. By doing so, I wasn’t giving up anything I truly cherished and I felt that my dignity was still intact. I was able to diffuse and eventually remove myself from this ongoing toxicity.
When faced with a potentially toxic and hurtful situation, could you make the decision to take the high road?