Because I work with adults with special needs I am often time told I am a good person, or that I am doing the Lords work, or that I am an angel. Fundamentally I do think I am a good person, but not because I work at a non-profit or because I work with adults with special needs. I think I am a good person because I do good things and because I believe in the good in others.
So let’s break it down here. What do I mean when I say good things? For me it is all things big and small. Do you change the roll of toilet paper when it’s empty? Do you hold the door open for strangers? Do you send someone you love a card for no reason other than you are thinking of them? Do you cover a coworkers shift so they can go to a funeral? Do you try to live eco conscious? Do you buy a homeless person a meal? Do you help turtles cross the road? Do you garden for your grandmother who is no longer able to do it? Do you donate to charity? Are you involved in political activism? Do you hold people in their highest light and help them to strive and be their best self? (Full disclaimer just because you have never done these things doesn’t mean you cant start today.)
You can do any of these things and still be an ass hat. How you do these things is what matters most. These acts must be a free will gesture with no ego involved and no expectation for reciprocity. Admittedly, there are times where I do things in hopes for mutual exchange. For example I may offer my husband a massage in hopes that I will get one in return. Generally this works out the way I hoped it would. I think there can be a natural give-and-take in long-standing relationships, but I think we have to be at peace if an individual is not able to freely offer back what we have offered them.
I do believe that good people can do bad things also. Every single day I make mistakes. However I am aware of my mistakes, or rather I try to be, and I then take ownership and apologize, and strive to do better next time. I do my best each evening to go over the events of my day and release myself from any guilt or shame that I may have surrounding particular incidence, and go to sleep knowing that I have another day to try again. However I have a new slate not just for myself but for the people around me. I have to also extend this to others. I may make generalizations about people’s behaviors but I have to give them the freedom to react differently with each new interaction, to give them the benefit of the doubt, and give them the opportunity to try again as I have afforded myself.
And you may be asking, what about just like the genuine shit bags in the world. I personally believe that most people, like 99.9% of people are good. That we have complex biographies, generational trauma, different temperaments, that play out in our day-to-day lives. And what we need is love and compassion and people willing to work with us on those things. A person is not going to change because you write them off, a person changes because you offer them love and they see that they are worthy of more. I firmly believe that if you think that someone is detrimental to your health and well-being then you can set them free and continue on with your life. We are not here to save everybody only those that are willing to save themselves. We must accept each other where we are at in our own personal development and only ask each other what we are capable of actually doing.
So do good things. Be kind to each other. We are all here trying to get through the day, and we can make it an enjoyable place to be or a harder place to be. That is your call to make.