Posts Tagged With: the next right thing

Day 187: On awards, chain-letters, and doing the next right thing

Two people nominated me for an award, yesterday, here on  WordPress.  It was the same award, too.


This was especially amazing  timing, since I recently wrote about getting applause and recognition (see here for a post about that and, as usual, other things, too).

Many thanks to (1) Christian and his blog Five Quick Minutes and (2) Hue and her blog Thehuepoint for nominating me.

I follow both of their blogs and have already learned valuable things from reading them. So the nominations are even more meaningful to me.

However, I am not sure, right now, about the Next Right Thing To Do.

The Next Right Thing (which I first blogged about many moons ago, here) (and again, here) is our best attempt to make a good choice, based on our values and our understanding of the situation.

It’s very different from The Right Thing To Do, at least in my mind.

When I get caught up in The Right Thing To Do (which implies that everything else is The WRONG thing to do), I get anxious, and go into All-Or-Nothing Thinking and other cognitive distortions.  In other words, I focus on my mistakes (which are inevitable, because I’m human), imagine worst-case-scenarios, and think about all the ways I might hurt or bother somebody else.

For example, here are my anxious thoughts about The Right Thing To Do, regarding getting the award here:

Eeeek! What’s the right thing to do?  I’ve noticed that some people here don’t accept awards. I like geting the recognition, but I personally feel uncomfortable about the chain-letter-aspect of these awards — that I’m supposed to pass them on to other people.  I don’t like chain letters! However, I’m really grateful that people I respect and whose blogs I’ve read and enjoyed have nominated me.  WHAT TO DO?  I see lots of chances of hurting other people’s feelings and/or bothering them!  Eeeeek!

(pant, pant, pant)

Yikes. These kind of worry thoughts can be quite exhausting.

When I think about The Next Right Thing To Do, that feels like a kinder, gentler way.

The Next Right Thing To Do is just one next step.  If the step doesn’t have results I like, I can take another next step.

When I think about the Next Right Thing To Do, I realize that I’m doing the best that I can, and that is good enough for now.

I realize that I will do my best to be true to my values and also consider the feelings of others.

I realize that balancing my needs and values with my concerns about others can be tricky, complicated, and confusing, but that’s life. And I’m not alone in dealing with those things!

So here’s a To Do List of some Next Right Things To Do, for me, in response to getting those awards:

  1. Express authentic gratitude for getting the awards from bloggers I appreciate. (check!)
  2. Name some thoughts and feelings about the experience. (check!)
  3. Lose the chain-letter aspect of the award, which I feel some personal discomfort about, and just list a dozen other blogs I read and have truly appreciated here. (And I’m going to let the bloggers speak for themselves.)

Toemail.  “Pictures of toes, pictures of feet, making the world a better place, one foot at a time.  We are Quillan and Angela and we created this blog in 2010 after deciding it might be fun to do a mail-in photo blog based on the name toemail, after one of us made a typographical error which resulted in that word. We look forward to hearing from you!”

White Trinity. “Being a first-time mom was probably the root cause behind creation of my blog, White Trinity.  Having my baby boy, has led me to realize that I have a lot to learn on this parenthood journey and that I have much to cherish and be thankful for in my life experiences. “

Wholeheartedness. “Thoughts on courage, compassion and connection…”

stuff i tell my sister.  “Who do you call or text with everyday “stuff” that occurs? Your sister, your mom, your best friend? That’s what this blog is about, “stuff I tell my sister”… Great books, photos, music, new ideas, product reviews, exercise and health info, rants & raves and random life thoughts. (from an Oklahoma gal to you♥”

Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge. “Simple observations, analysis, and common sense comments.  Having spent an adventurous life with business, traveling, research, and reading wide, Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge, has returned to a sunny spot that is more than adequate for entertaining, and reflecting – and, as an added plus, only a short walk to the marina and sweeping sunsets. Phil is known for astute observations, insightful analysis, and common sense comments of city, field, and that odd species: humans.”

Stephen Liddell. “Feet on the ground, head in the stars. I am a writer and a traveller with a penchant for history and getting off the beaten track.”

The diaries of the happy loner. “I’m loner and what!!!”

Kitt Noir. “Lover of literature, cats, history, art, food, old movies, seasides and nature.”

Currents and Waves.  Stevehi, “happily retired,” says about himself, by way of introduction:

“Under Construction

That’s the state of things here , a work in progress albeit limited progress .
at times .
My interests for the purposes of this blog is poetry though I do stray sometimes to other things.
I feel I’m in this for the long haul now since my urges to hit delete blog button have passed for the most part . I’ll see how things go and let the words flow when they will.”

Animating your life.  “It’s all about becoming the people we are meant to be. Gently but continually stretching our comfort zones and finding our strengths and getting inner genius out. I’m writing this blog to explore and expand my own association between good art, art that moves us emotionally, and the life lessons we need to learn.”

Psychologist Mimi.   “I am a social marketing expert (or so I have been told by the powers that be) and a PhD social psychologist by training who works in the public health field trying to bring a little common sense to it all and thus, I make everyone call me Dr. Just kidding! I don’t care much for those type of people. I am a New Yorker, who has lived throughout the United States and abroad, but my New Yorker wit (AKA snark; bite) and sensibilities always stay with me. All the world is my television and life is a highway and I like to provide commentary on it. Cheers”

I knew this was going to happen: I am having some trouble deciding which blogs to name here. I am aware that I am leaving out many blogs that I enjoy.

Here are some things that are helping me to decide.

I  am not including blogs I listed when I accepted the previous award I got, here, or other blogs I’ve mentioned in previous posts.

I’m recognizing that I will have chances, in the future, to express appreciation to the bloggers I am leaving out today.

And I’m realizing that there is definitely one more blogger I HAVE to include here, in my list of appreciations:

Ron Scubadiver.  “I am a veteran scuba diver, based in Houston, Texas, with over 1,000 dives who does not take pictures underwater, and can’t offer a good explanation for that. This blog is curated to reflect my current interests and style, so old posts will see changes over time. Somebody must find it interesting, as this blog received over 1,000,000 views from more than 120 countries in a little more than two years.

Please take no offense if I do not respond to “chain letter” awards as they are outside the scope of this blog.

Although there are many landscapes and even some photos of wild animals, my real purpose is, as one of my photographer friends put it, “to capture the essence of what us humans are all about.””


Thanks to all the bloggers I acknowledged here. (As I say to anybody I include in these posts, please let me know if you want me to change anything I’ve included about you.) Thanks to all the bloggers I read, whom I have NOT included in today’s post.  And thanks to you, for reading today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Day 134: The Next Right Thing (re-visited)

Waaaay back this year, on Day 35, I wrote about doing the next right thing.

I just re-read that post (which, apparently, was the Next Right Thing for ME to do, in THAT moment).  I was happy to see that I linked to somebody else’s blog post, at WordPress. (It was the first time I had done that, so I remember feeling nervous about doing that.)

I was surprised at how much I got out of reading what I wrote before.

I was surprised at how little I judged what I had written.

Sometimes, I don’t read things I’ve already written, out of fear — fear of judging something I’ve created,  fear of becoming depleted because of that self-judgment ( and, therefore, less capable of moving forward). 

Here’s my question for today:  What have I learned (or re-learned) about Doing The Next Right Thing (between Day 35 and today)?

  1. Fear of doing the wrong thing gets in the way of figuring out what The Next Right Thing is.
  2. There are many, many Next Right Things.
  3. It’s your choice what to do next.
  4. Your choice is affected by many different things — inside you and outside you.
  5. If you think you have done the Next Wrong Thing, learn from that.
  6. Let go of shame and regret, so you can move on (see #1 above).
  7. The more open you are to what you have learned, in each moment, the more wisely you will choose.

I just re-read that list and I feel an urge to kid myself a little bit, because I sound like a wise old owl.

So going with that urge, I just did a Google Image search on “wise old owl” and this is what I found. This:


And this:


Now I know.   The next right thing, in this moment, is …

… to conclude this post. Thanks for reading, everybody!

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Day 81: An Appreciation Trip

I have the privilege of doing work that I truly love: being a group therapist.

As usual, in this moment, I am very conscious of language, as I attempt to communicate with others — out there in the blogosphere.

Here are some ways I can describe what I do. I lead groups. I facilitate groups. I do groups. I run groups.

My title? Group leader.  Group facilitator.  Group therapist.

None of this language completely captures what I do, and some of it seems misleading to me — giving me too much power, or otherwise not accurately reflecting my role and my experience in a group.

Digression about Language and Communication

I am focusing on language as I write this because language is sooooo important to me.  I really want to be understood. I really want to communicate, to another person, what is important to me.  I want to do that effectively, recognizing that there are so many reasons and ways that I might be misunderstood. There are so many barriers to people understanding each other.  I experience that every day — in my professional life and in my personal life.

Sometimes I say this when I’m talking about communication:  Each person is so unique — with a  history and a current experience that is so personal, so different from anybody else’s — that it’s amazing that we can understand each other, at all.  It’s like each one of us is our own country, with our own culture, language, and government.  No wonder there are misunderstandings — when two separate countries try to exchange with each other.

Now, I know that may sounds extreme.

And as usual, the opposite is true, too — sometimes when I communicate with others, or witness communication, I experience people understanding and connecting with each other in amazing ways — understanding each other so profoundly and unexpectedly, no matter what their differences. Then,  people can seem so connected,  it’s like we are almost one entity. (Not like The Borg, though.  Heaven forbid.)

Hmmm.  I was planning on writing about something simple, but instead, I seem to be trying to communicate Things Profound (and even Trippy).

End of Digression

When I lead or run or facilitate or do groups, I sometimes (if I’m lucky!) work with somebody else, often called a co-facilitator or co-leader.

For the groups I do on Thursday evenings, I’ve been lucky enough to have a co-facilitator this year.

But I work at a teaching hospital, so people who work there are often there for limited periods of time.   And it looks like my co-facilitator is leaving in a month or two.

Which I feel sad about, because I really enjoy working with her.

Last night, she couldn’t attend the group.

So this morning, I wrote her an e-mail, letting her know that I missed her last night and  that I’ll miss her if she leaves.

But I hesitated before writing it.


For several reasons:

  • It feels risky to let somebody know that I appreciate them.
  • It feels risky to let somebody know that I am sad, because I’ll miss them.
  • I’m afraid she might have some sort of adverse reaction, like guilt for missing last night’s group.

I recognize those feelings and fears, but my priority is  to let people know when I’m having a positive reaction to them (as I wrote about, here.) So I wrote the e-mail.  The subject for the e-mail was

An appreciation trip, not a guilt trip

And I let her know about how she was missed at group last night, as well as my feelings about the possibility of her leaving.

It felt like the next right thing to do. Or more simply, it felt right.  And as I wrote that e-mail subject, I thought, “That’s my topic for today’s blog.”

Which is now done.

Thanks for reading, everybody.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Day 35: The Next Right Thing

For today, I would like to continue the illustrious tradition (that I established yesterday), of discussing the meaning of a term or phrase. Yesterday’s term was “Object Constancy.” Today’s phrase is “The Next Right Thing.”

Yesterday, I Googled “Object Constancy” before I shared my assumptions about it. Today, I would like to start this way:

I want to ask you, dear reader, what your assumptions are about the meaning of the phrase “The Next Right Thing.”  Maybe you’ve heard it before; maybe you haven’t.  In any case, what do you think it means?

(silence, so you can think about that)

(Actually, if this were a game show like “Jeopardy”, thinking music would be playing now.

Da da da da,

Dee dee dee.

Da da da da,

DEET, da-da-da-da-da,

Da da da da,

Dee dee dee,

DAH! da da da,

Deeee, deeeee,  deeeeeeeh.)

Okay, now that you’ve had some time to think about what “The Next Right Thing” means to you (assuming that the “Jeopardy” theme song hasn’t obliterated all other thoughts from your mind) (if so, my deepest apologies) …. I will now Google that phrase.

Hmmmm. Actually, I’m not seeing any “easy” definition of the phrase. (In other words, there’s no Wikipedia entry for it.)  Here are two links I clicked on, and found helpful: here and here.)

Okay!  It’s time for me to tell you my own personal experience with the phrase  “The Next Right Thing.”

I know that “The Next Right Thing” is a phrase, or slogan, associated with 12-step programs. I have witnessed many people use that phrase as a guidepost. I’ve seen them use it as Something That Helps — in their personal path of recovery, in moving forward, in letting go of judgment, in so many different ways. I have felt grateful and privileged to witness all that.

And I decided to use it this morning for myself.  And that phrase came to me because I was feeling somewhat overwhelmed today.  Here are some reasons I’m feeling overwhelmed:

I planned a party for several weeks; now that’s over.

I’m going off on an adventure tomorrow, flying in a plane by myself to somewhere I’ve never been before.

And I haven’t started packing!

I have a friend staying over, and what I’d really like to do is just hang out with her, but I’ve got all these things I should be doing.

And  I’m not feeling great, physically.  Nothing serious, just some muscle aches and the same damn cold lingering on, but the physical stuff does have an effect.

(By the way, I’ll probably write a future blog post about how helpful it can be just to List What’s Stressful, Right Now.)

(Notice that this post is long, with lots of digressions?  Among the reasons for THAT: (1) I’m on vacation so I’ve got more time on my hands and (2) I’m overwhelmed!)

Anyway …  so where was I, before the parentheses?

Heaven knows. But let’s go back to my topic: “The Next Right Thing.”

I know that it will help me today, to identify the next right thing to do.  But here are some thoughts I’m having about THAT:

What the hell is the next right thing? How can I figure THAT out? I’m so overwhelmed!

Well, here’s the deal. There are SEVERAL Next Right Things I could choose right now. I could start packing.  I could tell my friend I need a couple of hours today for myself.  I could get a massage to relieve the muscle aches!

And, actually, I already did do one Next Right Thing for myself this morning.

I wrote this blog post.

Thanks for reading.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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