I’m not a good person. I’m not a bad person either. I’m no more good or bad than I am evil or holy or righteous or monstrous. Very few people can be called these things.
Words like good or happy are tossed around lazily in daily parlance. They are loaded with so much meaning from the very first time your parents scolded you, to the McDonald’s advertisement that just played on your television.
Be good. Be happy. Make others happy. Happiness is all that matters.
A wiser friend than I once made me question the notion of happiness. Everything we do is motivated by the goal of obtaining greater happiness in our lives. Sometimes it’s helping others that makes us happy. Other times it’s helping ourselves. There are many ways to get ‘happy.’
But what else is there? What about fairness, equality, health, justice; bringing more of these into the world. Practicing mindfulness, selflessness, being content, too. A tranquil state.
Does happy have inherent goodness and sorrow have inherent badness?
I’ve lived my life to bring happiness to others, but I myself cannot be called a happy person. I often find myself in a dampened state of mood. I don’t know what it would take to flip this around, but does it have to be? Why can’t this be an acceptable state of being as well.
Trying to do good, doing what you think others want – we go in assuming there’s only one definition of what good means. To lend a hand, but sometimes it’s interference. To say kind words, but sometimes it’s invasive. What you do isn’t always wanted or appreciated. It could be misinterpreted. Does that mean you’re in the wrong? You committed a bad deed? Intentions, actions, outcomes. It’s seldom a matter of A to B to C.
I can’t always give others what would make them happy, either. There are times when I’ve done just the opposite, intentionally or not. It doesn’t feel great, that much I’ll say.
Hurting and being hurt, giving and taking, to hold open the door or shut the door on someone. No one’s allowed to have their cake and eat it. Not without consequence.
No good deed ever goes unpunished.