Oh well, ok...we all know we are supposed to take the high road in any given situation. Yep -- easy. Basics: The high road is when you make the choice that seems to be the most ethical and/or moral. The low road is when you make the choice that 1) will benefit you, 2) put the other person at some disadvantage or 3) makes it easiest (seemingly) for yourself. The self-righteous road is when you convince yourself you are taking the high road, when really, you are manipulating the facts to make it easier to do what you want to do anyway.
Easy example: There is only one serving of chocolate creme brulee left and your decision is to eat it, share it with your mate or wrap it up and take it to your co-worker with the sweet tooth who is going through such a difficult time. Solutions: Low road, you eat it. High road, you share it or at least attempt to share it. Self-righteous road, you eat it and tell yourself that your mate has already had several servings and/or the lady at work needs to lose weight and the creme brulee wouldn't help her in the long run.
Pretty self-explantory, right? Let's step it up a bit...right into the ethics of relationships and human interaction categories.
The high, low and self-righeous roads connect when we make choices with the wrong (eeeuuu) motives. Example: You and your mate have a long discussion/argument about spending habits. High road, "Honey, I see your point, so let's work on this together and check in with each other before spending more than $50 on something." Low road, "Honey, I see your point, so let's work on this together and check in with each other before spending more than $50 bucks on something." Then, when those cute, cute shoes calling your name, appear, you put it on the credit card and don't mention it. Self-righteous road, "Honey, I see your point, so let's work on this together and check in with each other before spending more than $50 bucks on something." Then, when those cute, cute shoes appear, you spend your stashed cash and not only don't mention it, but justify it with, "He/She (your mate) is always buying a Starbucks coffee, so it won't hurt if I buy these for me. He/She never needs to know."
Here is another one: You have a colleague at work that drives you bonkers. You are smart enough to know that it is in your best interest to try to get along and not make waves in the office, so you are always nice to her face. You run into her on your morning coffee break and briefly chat about nothing, maybe she says she is having a tough time on a project -- break is over and you smile and tell her to have a good day. Later, over lunch with your buds you tell them about running into her. High road, "I ran into Ruth this morning and she is really working hard on the xyz project." Low road, "I ran into that beeatch Ruth this morning and she was whining about how hard she has it." Self-righteous road, "I saw Ruth this morning and she is way over her head on the xyz project and she is going to make it hard on all of us." In other words...you hack her up into little pieces for the love of gossip and/or to make yourself seem a little more important.
Cutting to the chase -- these might sting a little...
You have an argument with your mate or best friend that doesn't really get resolved. Self-righteous road, you take the argument to all your buds and present only your side of it (in a very nice and well-meaning way) to get them to trash the other person, so you feel "right", "justified", or "superior".
You manage a group of people and a problem comes up about someone in the group -- Joe. Self-righteous road, "I can get Joe in line if I share just a part of this with him and put my own spin on it. That will solve the whole problem and be good for everyone involved."
Are you getting my drift here? Never fear, there is a litmus test of questions you can ask yourself to find out which road is looming before you.
First, of course...The Golden Rule...Ask yourself, "Would I want someone to do this to me(think about me) this way?
Second, Media Rule...Ask yourself, "Would I make this same decision if it were announced on local tv and everyone would know I made it?
Third, Moral Rule...Ask yourself, "If I make this decision will I like the person I see in the mirror everyday? Will he/she be the reflection of the person I want/strive to be?"
Fourth, Mentor Rule...Ask yourself, "If I make this decision, will my mom or dad or (someone you admire) be proud of me?"
There you go, food for thought. That high road isn't such a high road if it isn't taken honestly and with good intention. All the familiar words pop up here...ethics, morals, honesty, integrity, kindness, principles, etc. It never hurts to ask ourselves a few questions and get back honest answers. Living life and interacting with others (especially those you love) in a transparent way, gives us lots of room to grow in our relationships and strengthen our own characters. Not a bad thing.
Hey, always with respect,