12/03/2014 12:47 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

What's Motivating You: Being Right or Being Kind?

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Most likely your response to this question is that you want to be kind. Not just because it's the right answer, but also because that's who you are. Yes, of course you want to be kind, as do I.

But then I have to ask myself, what actually happens in my life? What's motivating me when I'm really challenged? This past year has been a tough and miraculous one, all at the same time. In the beginning I decided to take responsibility for some of the biggest problems in my life, and the results so far are beyond what I thought possible. But it hasn't been easy, and I'm learning some surprising lessons along the way.

Sometimes I catch myself focusing on my pain and how horrible someone else is, rather than on my part in the matter. For example, on my path to putting things right, someone hurt me badly. All I could think about was how wrong she was -- forgive and forget? Not a chance. I'll wait for her apology! What was motivating me? To be right, right? Of course I'm right -- look what she did. I'd be stupid to let her get by with it.

But is that what I want? Is that who I am? Decidedly, not. So the lesson is to be kind and let go -- and I'm happy that I did.

So I invite you to keep challenging yourself with this question:

What's motivating me -- being kind or being right?

Take time to think about people with whom you're having the most problems. You know the ones I mean -- the ones causing you the most pain and stress. What is motivating you in these relationships?

Is your attention on being right? Do you have chapter and verse about what they have done wrong? Are your thoughts and feelings leading to the result either of you want? What is your real motivation?

Here are a couple of my examples from just the past few days:


The secret is to wake up and do what we can do to put things right, rather than wasting our energies by trying to be right. Remember one of the most important lessons:

"Awareness brings its own reward." -- from Your Best Year Yet.

When your motivation is right, so are your results. I leave you with a quote from a master --

When the choice is to be right or to be kind, always make the choice that brings peace. --Wayne W. Dyer

What have you been learning about being kind? Scroll down to share your answer or make a comment -- or write to me: I'd love to hear from you.

For more by Jinny Ditzler, click here.
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For more about Best Year Yet, click here.