Why it’s better to be a good person even when the world may “get you” sometimes

Written by on January 22, 2014 in Learning to Breathe - 2 Comments

January has been a tough month. It’s probably been one of the toughest month that I’ve had in a very long time. Part of the reason, my New Year’s resolution: to truly endeavour to be a “good person”.

It’s interesting the meaning of those words: “good person”. What does being a good person really mean, and haven’t I always actually been one? Well, in January, I decided to take this meaning a step up from where I’ve normally been. One thing I must say that is honest and not bragging in any way: I’ve always been a person known for my high level of integrity. I’m a person that people who know me know is “good for my word”. In other words, “I do as I say I will”. It’s an interesting idea: living by one’s word. I’ve never questioned that as it was something that was taught to me at a very young age, as I teach it also to my own children now.

It’s simple really: I don’t make promises that I don’t intend to keep, I don’t say things that I don’t really feel (or I endeavour not to), and I normally don’t break commitments that I have made (especially not at the last minute, which is very rude and completely disrespectful of someone else’s time), and I practically never cancel anything just because a better offer comes along (which it very often can, will, and does). I have never regretted this way of living. I’ve never considered it in any way trying too hard. I always just believed that it’s better to live in a way that creates a good reputation for myself, whatever I become and whoever I may be. But it isn’t even that conscious knowledge of reputation that makes me act in this way. It’s just who I am. I have been brought up to live by the motto of “do onto others as you’d have done onto you” so I try really, really hard to live in this way. I always think what I would feel like if another person treated me in the way that I am treating them. And, normally, this is sufficient to act in a way that is “right”.

Ok, this isn’t easy, and I must admit that I do often enough fail at this without wanting to. Though I always show up when I say I will, those who know me well know that my “timing” leaves something to be desired, something that isn’t necessarily respectful of the other person’s time either. Sometimes, also, my selfish nature just takes over and I want more than my fair share of something, or I play around in a way that could, inevitably, cause someone else to get hurt in the long run. But I do this most often unconsciously and without realising (well mostly anyway). I have to say though that I still probably did leave a trail of people in my wake who wouldn’t necessarily call me a “nice person”. In fact, with some past relationships I can still cringe at when I was in my “playing around” phase, I think they would have used an entirely different word to describe me.

Hence, my New Year’s resolution: to be a better person. There’s something that happens when you actively choose to start being a “good person”. (I sigh now when I write this.) It’s as if the universe laughs at you initially and drags out all of the rifraf of the planet and points them directly at you in an effort to test your resolve. It’s as if, all of a sudden, all of the thieves, the liars, the fraudsters, and the game players are directed directly at you to show you how much more rewarding it would seem to not be a good person. They all come directly at you with their pretty words and their charming smiles and their promises of business success and life-long happiness and whatever it is that you most want at that moment if you only just ignore what they’re really meaning and fall for their false promises and spun hopes.

Ok, I don’t consider myself a particularly naïve person, but I do like to try to believe in the inner good of people, at least of most people. I actually like to think that most people are kind of like me: doing the best they can to do what’s right. I’d like to think that most people do actually want to do as they say they will. But, wow, was January a significant trial. Not only was I ripped off financially – feeling very strongly at the moment of allowing myself to be ripped off that I really did not trust this person at all – and completely ignoring this very strong instinct, but I also was hurt in other ways because of, again, not trusting my instincts.

The thing is, I actually have very good instincts. I just much too often choose to ignore them. The thing about being a good person though is that, yes, you can believe in the natural good in others as well (and inevitably those who are really good people too will be drawn to you, as I still believe that happiness is there for the taking for those of us who believe in it). But the idea is to have an open heart and a natural joie de vivre (joy for life), while also listening to a person’s true meaning and not just to the words they say (or write).

Life is about learning, and some lessons are more expensive than others. In some we may pay with our hearts temporarily; in some we may find our purses a bit lighter. I paid with both this month. And, I admit now sadly, for about two weeks I cried every day on and off. It hurt. It hurt a lot. Disappointment is a very strong emotion. But, you know what, I survived. And I not only survived, I finished stronger, better, more resilient, more able to trust my instincts, and with the realisation that my heart is still able to feel massively and that I have a great capacity to love and to give. I came out of it almost reborn – and determined to make a positive mark on this world more than ever before. The process of hurting me and making me suffer made me realise that where I thought no feelings could tread again, there were actually massive feelings; where I believed creativity was dead, there was actually a story waiting to be written that was birthed through feeling; and where I thought the joy of life was fading, it was actually blooming. Some people even commented that I looked significantly younger in the week after all of the incidences. Funny enough, they asked me for my beauty routine.

There is something about survival that feels absolutely delicious. The latent tears don’t depart immediately. They kind of stay there in the back of you still ready to pour when the reminder comes again of the things that have been able to touch you enough to hurt you. But within you there is also the growth of another feeling: a kind of strength of character that doesn’t make you any less of the person you are, and that doesn’t take away from the kind of heart that is able to allow itself to feel. Rather, it works with it, allowing for your natural capacity to love to be rewarded in kind. Call me naïve if you want, but I still believe in the old adage that good triumphs in the end and is rewarded with happiness. And, after all, no matter how bad things get in a moment, time is the best healer.

 

Stay tuned for next month’s entry when I write about what it is about the French that seems to captivate and attract me every time.

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2 Comments on "Why it’s better to be a good person even when the world may “get you” sometimes"

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