The difference between standing up for what is right, and standing up for my rights can determine if I make my next move or my next wise move.
An individual called my office wanting some information about one of my customers. I declined the information because we require documentation to prove someone other than the customer can be given information. I offered a solution, but the man became belligerent. I offered a few more solutions and his temperature began to rise. In a condescending tone he said “What is your job if you can’t even do this?”
His tactic was to shame me into giving him the information, so I offered another solution. He continued to interrupt. Finally, after five attempts to help and five combative interruptive demands, I warned I would have to hang up the phone if I could not help any further. The attacks kept coming and I finally hung up.
He called back to the office and began screaming at an employee. When I heard him begin to scream expletives at my employee I snatched the phone. We exchanged words and I made it clear that while we would love to help, I could not let him talk to staff that way.
At this point I was heated and my heart was racing. He called me a couple names with expletives and I hung up again. This time he called back like nothing happened before and asked for the number where he could get help calmly.
I told him to google search it. That was not my finest moment, but don’t be all high and mighty like you wouldn’t want to.
We may not all face the same situations, but we all have opportunity to choose what is right or our own rights. Teachers, Health Care Workers, Real Estate Agents or Attorneys all have opportunities to seek justice or their own rights when working.
I hope the next time I will remember the difference between standing up for what is right and standing up for my rights. When I stand up for justice; when I step in for my co-worker or employees or customers when they are being mistreated, I am standing up for what IS right.,
When I seek to pay you back for hurting my pride or challenging my authority, I am standing up for my rights.
When I am trying to determine my next wise move I can use this distinction to help me. There is a fork in the path here. I can choose to take the left path which leads to self-justification and retribution. I can choose to take the right path that leads to justice and humility.
The path that represents standing up for what IS right over MY rights will not just lead to my next nice move. It will lead to my next wise move.
I felt it rising up and so have you. We are like addicts when it comes to protecting our own rights. This drug makes me want more and always leaving me wanting more. It deteriorates relationships and keeps me from seeing the situation as it really is. It keeps me from seeing mutually beneficial outcomes because I must protect my ego at all costs.
In “Talking With Strangers”, Malcolm Gladwell provided evidence to show the effects of alcohol abuse on our brains. He said it did not make us throw off restraint as much as it made us short-sighted. We do things, he explained, without regard to how they will affect our future.
See how that is the same when we are intoxicated by our own rights?
But when I am sober, I can see what I could not before. When I seek what IS right over MY rights I have the balance to review the facts and act accordingly. I have the foresight to account for the ways my current actions will determine my future.
I will be able to make my next wise move.
Sure the lines get blurry, but we must not do the fatal thing and ignore the difference.