Who wants to go on a road trip? There is room for everyone! (REflections Photography, Yuba City, CA - Blogpost #5).

Ok Google Now: Navigate me from my location down the High Road to a more peaceful existence.  Please hurry, I need this.

Or for you iOs users:
Siri, where is the High Road and how do I take it?

Whether literally or figuratively, there is no punching on High Road.  Sorry. 

Whether literally or figuratively, there is no punching on High Road.  Sorry. 

Every day we are faced with judgement, blame, disparagement, discrimination, anger, pain, trauma, and drama.  Conclusions are jumped to and assumptions made.  We live in an age of instant outrage.  Why do we become so easily outraged over every slight, every threat to our sensitivities, every perceived offense?  Do we not know how to take the high road anymore?  Or is it just much easier to match bitter with bitter and match offense with offense?  We can't even see the High Road for all the bitter trees in the way.  Or, maybe we don't have the directions to get to the High Road.  They aren't difficult to understand, but the are difficult to execute.  The trip is bumpy, but the destination so much better than any other.  Some people cannot travel to the High Road.  They are too set in their ways and stand at Low Road, shaking their fists at races, religions, cultures, orientations, and rights.  Feel sad for these people as you take High Road to peace. Better yet, pray for them.

Your job is not to one up someone on a social media message board.

Your job is not to one up someone on a social media message board.

In light of recent happenings, I see much judgement, anger, resentment, offense, outrage, and bitterness.  Tell, me, how does that help the situations?  How does your judgement help the parents of the toddler who was attacked by an alligator?  How does your resentment toward a religion or generalization of an entire race or culture bring back the victims of violence?  How does your misinformation about our amendments uphold our constitution?   How does knee-jerk reactions aid in the root of issues?  Blindly following a media outlet to further your bias shows a significant lack of education and enlightenment.  Logic and common sense have taken a backseat to agendas and greed.  How sad for those who blindly follow one side of a story, assume, and create an opinion based on false or lacking information.  Be it on a global scale or more personal:

Just because it's on the internet, or it's published in the media does not make it truth.  Research and educate yourself.  Then, and only in kindness, seek to educate others.

 

Question: How does your bringing more anger and negativity to a conflict aid in bettering your family, your community, or your world?

Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who mistreat you.
— Luke 6:27-28

Directions for taking the High Road:

1. Head toward the positive, turn away from bias and negativity. Do not attend every fight you are invited to.  Find all sides of the story before forming your opinion.  Opinions are often best kept to yourself, though.

2.  Take the offramp away from negativity by exuding positivity.  Always find the good in any situation.  If you cannot find it, be the good.  

You plant the seeds in the hearts of others through your example.

You plant the seeds in the hearts of others through your example.

3. Set your controls for self only.  You cannot control other's actions, only your own.  Set an example of kindness in the face of adversity.

Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others, it is the only means.
— Albert Einstein.

4. Veer away from responding.  Those who aim to hurt you will justify their behavior by your response to it.  They may bait you, taunt you, and try to force your reaction.  Do not allow them to win this game.  Rather, continue to treat them how you want them to treat you.  If you allow yourself to be drawn in, you are now a responsible party to the judgement, blame, disparagement, anger, pain, trauma, and drama.  Regardless of who started the negativity, your continuance of it makes you no better than the bitter, angry, outraged people.  Work in kindness or simply walk away.

It is hard to be the bigger person.  That is why so few are.

5. If you have responded to anger with anger, congrats, you are now on their level and their behavior has been justified.  Make a U-turn immediately.  Admit you're wrong, own it in an effort to be the better person, and apologize.  Do not continue the fight until there is irreparable damage.

Apologizing when you don't want to makes you a better person.

Apologizing when you don't want to makes you a better person.

Just as fire goes out without wood, quarrels disappear when gossip stops.
— Proverbs 26:20

6. Do not take the Demand Apology Detour if you feel you have been wronged.  Rather, forgive anyway.  Forgive because you deserve peace more than an apology.  Forgive them even if they are not sorry.  Possibly say "I do not want to fight with you and I forgive you this behavior toward me.  What can we do to make you feel less (bitter, resentful, angry, hurt) over this situation?"

You will grow into the bigger, better person.

You will grow into the bigger, better person.

7. Do not take the Dirty Laundry Airing Detour.  This is participating in the problem.  Take a deep breath and  stay on High Road. People who seek to make themselves superior to you will use this information to degrade you.  They are glad you have dirty laundry.

Let it go, let it gooooooo...

Let it go, let it gooooooo...

Taking the low road may be less bumpy, and feel great while you are on it, but in the long run, it will destroy you.  The High Road may not be the easy thing to do, but it is the right thing to do.  You will always be sorry you took the Low Road.  You will never be sorry you were the bigger person and ventured down the High Road.  High Road will bring you peace.  Low Road will bring you turmoil.  Which outcome would you like to have?

Always take the high road. It is far less crowded.
— Charles Munger

Nex time you find yourself drawn into a conflict, whether it is on a message board, in a social setting, with a coworker, with a family member, or with a friend, remember that conflict only exists when both parties participate.