How To Know If Something Is Really Right For You

Do more than what feels good. Do what you know is right for your life.


I can't recall when I first heard what I'm about to share, but it is something that I hold close to me; especially when I'm in the process of trying to make a rather significant decision—"Don't focus on what makes you feel good; focus instead on what you know is right." The reason why I so wholeheartedly agree with that way of thinking is because, personally, I think people are way too addicted—yes, addicted—to their emotions. And feelings? They can change at the drop of a dime. This means that if you're solely dependent on them, you could end up on an emotional roller coaster ride that can have you constantly feeling confused, unsettled and unsure. And because of that, your life decisions will, as they say, keep that same energy.

On the other hand, when the focus is on doing what is truly right for you, that's a bit different. I'll give you an example. Recently, one of my writing gigs gave me a raise. Putting that extra money into a savings account so that I can travel more is good. But right now, Uncle Sam and I have some things to work through, so hiring a reputable accountant is what's right. I recently had a conversation with a relative that was disconcerting to say the least. There was so much toxicity in it that establishing immediate boundaries would've been good. But because I know what it's like to not feel heard or validated, I listened and supported; at the time, that is what was right.

When doing what is right is what truly matters to you, it means that you are factoring in things like truth, facts, principles and timing; you're putting in the effort to make sure that all of these things will work together for your ultimate good. You're not only interested in how to appease your emotions or what will make you feel good in the moment. Doing what is right is about maturity and taking your future into account; even if it's not always easy, comfortable or what your heart—the center of your emotions—wants to do.

While keeping all of this in mind, how can you know if something—or one—really is right for you? That's kind of a loaded question, but here is a bit of a "cheat sheet" to hopefully help you out.

Your “Human Trinity” Is in Agreement


So, what is the "human trinity"? I define it as being the mind, body and spirit (for the church folks who may find it disrespectful, the actual word "trinity" isn't in the Bible. I refer to the "three in one" as the Godhead [I John 5:8], just for the record). These things are designed to work in harmony with one another. So, if there is something that you are considering doing or there's someone who you're thinking about getting involved with, take out a moment to listen to what your mind, body and spirit are saying. Is there a thought in the back of your mind that is telling you that it's not a good idea? Do you literally experience an uncomfortable physical reaction? As far as how your spirit/soul operates, check out "I've Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul" for a bit of a breakdown.

When I look back over my life, most of the things that I regret, I did without making sure that all three parts of me were, for the most part, on the same page. Meanwhile, the things that I feel really good about, even to this day, my human trinity was at total peace at the time that I decided to do it. I'm pretty sure that's not a coincidence.

It Doesn’t Compromise Your Principles or Values


We're living in a time when people are attacking principles and values on every hand. While it's one thing to allow someone the space and freedom to live out their truth, it's another thing for those same individuals to berate someone else for the beliefs that they personally have. If you want respect, you must give respect. But that's another article for another time. What I will say, for now, is that no matter how much bullying—both online or off—that may be going on these days, it speaks volumes about your level of integrity if you don't allow it to compromise (or silence) your own core principles and values because they are a huge part of your foundation and character. They are a large part of what makes you…you.

A great quote that fits in really well with this particular point is by the French novelist and poet Victor Hugo—"Change your opinions, keep to your principles; change your leaves, keep intact your roots." Amen. That said, if what you're about to do involves invalidating your core principles and values? Well, the phrase "selling your soul" covers a lot of ground; this is just one of the examples of doing it. And, at the end of the day, it really isn't worth it.

You Can Already See How It Will Contribute to Your Growth and Development


You may be familiar with a really popular Alice Walker quote that says, "No person is your friend who demands your silence or denies your right to grow." This is a powerful quote all on its own (check out "10 Signs You've Got A Close (TOXIC) Friend" and "10 Things You Should Absolutely Expect From Your Friendships" for a co-sign), but if I were to tweak it a bit to fit this article, I'd say, "Nothing is right for you if it hinders your growth and development." I don't care if it's a man, a job, a church or anything else—if we're not moving forward, we're either remaining stagnant or going backwards; those last two options aren't even remotely healthy.

So yeah, as you're in the process of trying to figure out if something is truly right for you or not, ask yourself if it will put you in a more progressive state a year from now? If you can't definitely say that, well, that's something to really think about. Isn't it?

It Invigorates and Inspires You


To be invigorated is to be filled with life and energized. To be inspired is to be compelled or influenced to produce something; something that is typically new. When something is truly right for you, these two things should definitely come into play.

I consider myself to be a creative. Something that I know about creative types is we're constantly driven by inspiration. When I recently checked out the article "10 Creative People Share What Inspires Them", some of the things that other creatives shared they are inspired by includes taking risks, challenges, relationships, self-reflection and nature. That's their list. What's yours?

For this point, let's look at it through a romantic lens. I know a married couple who talk all of the time about them knowing that they were right for each other because they both inspired one another to attempt things that they would've never considered prior to meeting. Not only that but, even after all of these years later, they wake up with a sense of excitement because, since they are both so spontaneous and driven, they never really know what to expect.

Doesn't reading that just make you feel invigorated? Yeah, if something is really right for you, it will cause you to feel a sense of exhilaration. It will motivate you in ways that nothing else quite has before too. If something doesn't move you like this, while I won't go all in and say that it's exactly "wrong", what I will say is do a little more investigating; something is definitely kinda sorta…off.

It Will Get You “Unstuck”


I've got a friend who keeps, as the old folks say, going around Charlie's barn. She does it on the professional tip. She gets a job at a company she doesn't like, stays for a couple of years, then looks for another job in the same field for about the same salary, only to find herself restless about six months in. I've watched her do this for about 15 years now. Finally, I flat-out asked her why she keeps doing that to herself. What she told me was although she has a passion for teaching, the irony is all of the jobs that make her unhappy are giving her more experience in a particular field. So, she thinks that it makes more sense to keep doing what she doesn't like than to step out and start all over.

OK, y'all. Guess how many of us absolutely hate what we do for a living. A whopping 85 percent! When you stop and think about the fact that you spend most of your waking hours at your place of employment, what sense does it make to be someplace where you are unhappy? The entire time that your eyes are open? Uh-uh. Better to start over than to die a slow death in a familiar space.

Another way to know if something is right for you is it will encourage you to get out of doing the same ole', same ole'; from living as if you are stuck in a rut.

That said, if you've been stuck in a rut for so long, you don't even know what that looks like, here are some telling signs—you are bored a lot; you hold onto toxic habits and people simply because they are familiar to you; every day feels like you are doing nothing more than going through the motions; there's nothing that you really have to look forward to and the only thing you really look forward to is ending the day and going to sleep. C'mon sis, what could possibly be right about any of that?

You Have Total Peace


At this stage in my life, "peace" is one of my favorite words. And yes, a final indication that something (or one) is truly right for you is it will bring tranquility, order ("order" is a BIG one) and calm into your world. There will be less confusion. Less tension and stress. And definitely less drama (when things are right, drama significantly decreases).

Based on what peace means, I seriously doubt someone else's husband is right for you. I seriously doubt taking a job that doesn't recognize your gifts and talents is right for you. I also seriously doubt remaining in a toxic relationship, whether it's a family member, friend or significant other, is right for you.

So, take a deep breath and think about all that you just read. What in your life, at this very moment, is truly right for you? Whatever isn't, it's time to do a little internal house cleaning. So that you can make room for what's better than average or even good. It's time to embrace all that is truly RIGHT. Right?

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

Need To Make A Big Decision Quickly? Do This.

5 Signs You Don't Trust Yourself. 3 Ways To Change That.

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When You Should Trust Your Gut & When You Shouldn't

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

This article is in partnership with Staples.

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