Prompt: Today I want you to have a dialogue with yourself. One voice will be the "yes" voice. And one voice will be the "no" voice. Give yourself 10 minutes or more for this one. Think of something you really want to do and let the voices go at it for 10 minutes. The Yes voice will talk you into it, and the No voice will come up with reasons not to do it.
Result: My own self-dialogues are too personal for me to want to share in raw form at this point in time. Instead, I used a character from a piece I'm working on and split her into three. Miss Guided is the indecisive party, Anna Bovary is the 'yes ', and Ruth Renfield is the 'no'.
Good and Right
Miss Guided: What should I do?
Anne Bovary: Do what feels good.
Ruth Renfield: Do what feels right.
MG: I want to do both. Those two things aren’t usually so far apart, but in this case, they are. That’s my problem. What feels good, feels so wrong; and what feels right, feels so bad.
RR: But you are a righteous person at heart, are you not? You have always known that one must often suffer for the good of others.
AB: True. But why must that one be you? In Ruth’s logic, it’s just as natural for him to suffer for your good as it is for you to suffer for his.
RR: You twist my logic. But you’re right. Still, history celebrates a martyr.
AB: You have to die to be a martyr! Don’t listen to this madness, Miss – you have more to offer the world through living. And a living death is more the latter than the former. No. You need to do what you must to both survive and thrive!
MG: That does make sense, but-
RR: -But what feels good is often fleeting. When it passes you are only left with the wrong. Doing right stays with you. And you may find that things get better eventually.
AB: Ha! ‘May find’, ‘better’, ‘eventually’… See? It’s just as big a gamble either way. So you should bet on the horse with the best odds in the soonest race, I say!
RR: The more you bet, the more you might lose.
AB: Well, precisely! I should be saying that to you.
RR: Ahem. Well, haste makes waste!
AB: Better to waste your wager than your chance. Better to waste what you have than what you are. Like I said: it’s a gamble either way. The longer you hold out on your losing streak, the more likely you are to hold onto that false hope and you’ll keep going all in until it’s all gone. At least with my way, you know if you’re a winner or a loser right away. If you’re a loser, you’ll still have time – and your youth - to start again. If you’re a winner, you’ll have that same time and youth to enjoy it.
MG: And I know how to quit while I’m ahead.
RR: But what about debt? Don’t you feel like you owe him?
MG: I do. I know. He’s fed me, housed me. He’s provided my comfort and cleanliness when I could not provide it for myself.
RR: And without those things, you’d likely be dead. So in essence, you owe him your life.
AB: Your life?! Pah! Yes, it’s true that without those things you might be dead; but without him to give them to you, you know you would have found another way to get them for yourself!
AB: Besides: food, shelter? He might also provide those things for a stray cat. Would he ask for its life in return? Surely not. Then why ask it of a woman?
RR: A cat is a cat. People are capable of honour.
AB: Honour! What honour is there in staying just for the sake of it? It’s just a lie if there’s only debt in place of desire. Now you’re blurring the lines between ‘right’ and ‘good’, Ruth.
MG: I still wish I could do both. What if I pursued it, but not aggressively? Or perhaps better still: I take the chance, but only if it happens naturally? And until then, make plans to better my situation either way, so I will lose less whichever gamble I take. Maybe I can walk the line until something tips me to one side.
RR: Suit yourself. Just remember you can’t be truly righteous while knowingly being duplicitous. You can walk the line for now. But whichever way you fall, you’re going to fall.
AB: No! Whichever way you fall, you’re going to get back up.
MG: Sorry Ruth. I think Anna’s reasoning is better. The only way to pay for life is by living or dying. If I choose the second, everyone loses. If I choose the first, I’ll have the rest of my life to pay the debt.
I don’t think it’s always the best thing to follow your heart without using your head. In this case, I must use both. And even though that may mean doing wrong by others, it is the only way I can do right by myself. I will have to bear the guilt, and only count my losses once I’m winning.