There are a lot of things we CAN do. Eat this bucket of 50 wings, marathon Firefly in one sitting, follow Dispatch on tour, troll the comments on Fox News.
But ought we.
While any one of these things could be a great time, are they what is appropriate for the day, our obligations, or our mental health?
I can, but ought I
I started this blog a few weeks ago, and I’ve been spending my time attempting to spread the word, finding the best social media accounts, and reading up on recents posts and articles that I find relevant to my work.
I also have a good deal of friends who I only communicate with online. So I’ve been spending a lot of time using Facebook and Twitter with apps on my phone, iPad, and computer, I am always connected.
What I have been encountering lately is a lot of anger. Anger at the president, congress, anger with each other. My anger is a short fuse, and it is explosive. I’ve always known this, but I got really in tune with this particular emotion when I participated in an intensive outpatient mental health program last year. What I learned is that when I get angry, I have to remove myself from what is making me angry. Either by leaving a situation or setting a boundary with someone who I might be talking with.
Last Thursday, with all the anger I was being exposed to online I decided I needed to step back from my connectivity a bit. Just because I CAN be online all of the time, it is not something I OUGHT to do.
In my original thoughts for this post I was using the word should, but there are a lot of thoughts I have on the word should and I wanted to search for something I found more appropriate. So ought. It sounds so proper to me. Ought I do that?
Good things too
This particular situation does not always have to be negative. Like illustrated above, I love taking time to chill and marathon my favorite TV shows, and sometimes that’s ok. But, how am I going to feel tomorrow when I haven’t done any work, didn’t get any exercise, and ate easily accessible foods so I didn’t have to leave my couch.
On Facebook we can encounter someone who we consider a friend but has vastly different views from ourselves. We can share our opinions politely (or not so politely), we can argue with them and tell them they are wrong, we can even choose to unfriend them completely. There are a lot of options.
But what ought we do? The answer is going to be different for everyone. For some, we can have constructive arguments with our friends and stay friends even when we disagree on some very fundamental issues. Other people can’t even have a civil conversation about which way the toilet paper should go on the roll (I actually don’t have an opinion on this).
Mental and Physical Health
I’ve mostly been talking about activities that may be good for our mental and emotional health. But there are also times that we may need to consider what we ought to do physically. This is particularly true for people with chronic illnesses and disabilities.
In the times that I have that awesome feeling of wanting to do ALL OF THE THINGS, I have to weigh my desires and needs. What ought I do today? I can go to the park, grab some tacos and margaritas at Taco Tuesday, and watch Netflix all night. But, what ought I do. I should probably work on laundry, run the dishwasher, but maybe I can grab some tacos too. It’s all just another aspect to that pacing I’m always talking about.
Positive but realistic
Sometimes I sound super positive, and that’s my goal. But I also want to be realistic. What we can do and what we ought to do are often vastly different. We can’t always be a perfect human being and do the oughts every time.
What I suggest we should strive for is to do the oughts most of the time. Balance our desires and needs, be the friend but stand up for our beliefs, somedays just stay to hell with it all, but pick back ourselves up tomorrow.
Have you encountered something recently that was entirely possible, but not the best decision? Let me know in the comments.