My blog posts are inspired by snippets of conversations that I’ve had or overheard, close encounters of all kinds, observations of the same or similar things in quick succession, or ideas that have been simmering on a slow, back burner in my brain. This post’s impetus was a recent conversation with someone close that brought to mind a declaration I made 11 years ago about another person with whom I’m also close about “being good.” Here it goes:
Why are you good?
Are you good because it is your nature to be good? Are you good in response to how you were reared and the values you’ve chosen to embody? Are you good because it is the right thing to do? Do you find being good fun or fulfilling?
Do you need to be recognized for being good? Are you good all the time or just when you’re being watched? Do you have to compare your goodness to that of others to show that you are good?
Is there a hierarchy of goodness in your mind and behavior? Do your turn your goodness on and off like a faucet to reward or punish?
Do other people motivate you to be good?
I used to believe that I had the power to inspire good in others. I stopped believing that a while ago. I now know that people are good because they are good and that this has nothing to do with motivation from others – especially when it comes to being a consistently good (or generous or kind) person. I have also come to understand that people who love you are not always good to you (or generous or kind).
Being good is an orientation toward life for those who have it. Good is as good does.
I cannot not be good (most of the time). If I find myself wishing ill on others or to be mean to someone (more than a fleeting thought in anger), I try to remove myself from their proximity. I also make conscious efforts to continue to be and do good even when it is not recognized or acknowledged. (Although it can sometimes feel, on pity-party days, that nice girls and guys finish last.)
There is enough badness, poison, violence, envy, misunderstanding, terror, mean-spiritedness, etc., in this world. Who wants to be on that side of the equation?
So, continue to be good. It’s who you are. It’s how you roll. It’s what you’ve chosen. It will come back to you and in fact, compared to a whole lot of other people in this world, it’s already come back thousands of times. Don’t change. “Be good for goodness sake.”* (Although Santa isn’t coming.)
(*From song, Santa Claus is Coming to Town. It was written in 1932 by Haven Gillespie and J. Fred Coots.
If you liked this post, explore this site, there are lots of good posts. (Thank you.)
Very nice blog. Thank you!
I have come to the same conclusion. I agree that some people and situations tempt one to give as unkind as one has received; however, one must be true to oneself and do what is in one’s heart. I choose to walk in integrity, tolerance, kindness and Joy no matter with whom I am dealing and no matter how the other person has chosen to deal with me. It ain’t easy but it feels better than allowing a situation or person to change who I am.
Thank you! You are so, so smart – wise smart.