Take the High Road.
I am sure several ones of you have heard it before tossed at like a wisdom nugget, and have wondered "which road is that ?" or worse, should you have been too stunned or lost, your mouth merely expulsed two words "come again ?"
Truth be told, it's one of these sentences that are thrown away when a conflict arises, but on which, few can give a precise defintion. I'll try my best to remedy to that.
So what does "Take the high road" really means ?
John C. Maxwell theorized The High Road Principle gives us a good explanation by stating that there are three roads or options that we can take in life:
- The low road : where we treat people worse than they treat us.
- The middle road : where we treat people the same as they treat us
- The high road : where we treat people better than they treat us
Let's ponder the options set out by Mr Maxwell
1. The Low Road
If treated poorly, one reaction could be to hurt even more the person responsible for the outrage. If bad spoken to, many would be so incensed at the other person and thus defer with politeness or what they might see at the time as philosophical platitudes.
Many would agree that the "F..." word can prove liberating sometimes. But based on my experience, the instant gratification never lasts and leaves a bad feeling afterwards. So to me, it's not worth it!
Gandhi has summarized it best for all of us by stating “An eye for and eye and whole world goes blind.”
3. The High Road
Wisdom, Class and one's sense of self-respect would advocate in favor of taking the high road. It is so easy to just lower the level of the debate in the gutter by treating people worse than they did to us.
The rationale for treating people better than they did to us is multi-folded : one should never respond to rudeness, or let bitter or unhappy people drag us down, we might even gain some peace of mind by doing so. Etc.. To summarize and to quote special agent Jenifer Jarreau JJ in Criminal Minds (S06E02) and start a series of what I will call the JJ exit principle
This isn't what I want, but I'll take the high road.
I have gathered around the web a mosaïc of opinions in favor of the latter option. Enjoy!