I find that doing the right thing really happens in the moment. It’s when you make that split decision in the moment to do the wrong thing that the pain of regret happens. For instance, let’s take gossip as an example. The worst thing you can do to a person is character assassinate them. You’re stealing their reputation. Often careers are ruined, families broken and worse happen when we gossip.
So, doing the right thing in the moment when someone is gossiping about someone else, you walk away. Don’t take part on that behavior. Also if you’re noticing that you’re gossiping about someone else, stop in your tracks and apologize.
Doing the right thing means hitting the pause button when you’re about to do something wrong. Take a step back, quickly reevaluate the situation and apologize if need be. Doing the right thing means that you’re accountable for your actions especially when they hurt someone else. Make a quick amends when you feel you are wrong (if you’re asking yourself the question whether you think you’re wrong then an amends needs to take place).
Doing the right thing also extends past gossip. The Buddhists have what is called the Eightfold Path upon which to live an ethical and well balanced life. Here they are:
- Right View
- Right Intention
- Right Speech
- Right Action
- Right Livelihood
- Right Effort
- Right Mindfulness
- Right Concentration
This is a list of precepts on how an enlightened human being should live as well as respond to life and its challenges.
The Dalai Lama says that he practices the religion of compassion. So, one could say that having compassion ensures that you are doing the right thing. If you live your life mindful of others and making sure you’re not hurting yourself or others whether it be from drugs, physical violence or gossip than I’m pretty sure you’re leading an ethical life and one that is full of self worth.