What does it mean to be a good person?
If we look to the Bible to answer this question we get:
"Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the Earth" Matthew 5:5
What does "meek" mean anyway?
Merriam-Webster defines it as: "enduring injury with patience and without resentment"
This is by no means an attack on the Bible, but I call bullshit. Don't get me wrong. Being meek, for most of my life is something that I strove to maintain. I don't like hurting peoples' feelings. I still don't. I don't like needless confrontation. I don't like emotional argument.
But to be meek?
To endure injury from others. To exude patience above all. To take all of this and not feel anything towards the perpetrator? I am not sure that fully envelopes what a good person is comprised of.
A good person is a mix of many things. Sometimes you are pure. Sometimes you need to do things that come off as bad or harsh but ripple out to positive effect. Sometimes you need to see and realize the evil within you and stare it in the face to see your true nature.
A good person stands up for themselves.
A good person is always honest, not just when it is convenient.
A good person has integrity.
A good person knows how to take leadership.
A good person speaks up when no one else will.
A good person knows the positives of force yet knows holding back might be better.
A good person identifies toxic culture.
A good person has to hurt people in the short term to exude love in the long term.
A good person says no.
A good person keeps their body fit.
A good person doesn't quit when things get hard.
A good person accepts consequences.
A good person owns up to their mistakes.
A good person understands responsibility.
A good person tests the waters.
A good person makes sacrifices.
Being a good person isn't easy to nail down to a single definition. Being a good person is fluid. Sometimes you need to do hard things that don't feel good. You need to hurt people in order to make the world a better place.
Isn't that what we all want? To make the world a better place?
Then start practicing being a good person.
It all starts with you.
"You should be humble enough to understand that if you can't order your own life, you shouldn't be trying to order anything more complicated than that." -Jordan Peterson
Once we can build ourselves into a good person, we can change the world. Whether that be big or small. When we are sound beings of operating in this fucked up, confusing world we can lend a hand in diminishing the chaos.
How do we do this?
It starts with identifying where you lack in certain good qualities.
Being honest and the freedom of discourse is paramount (I know it is something I am actively working on myself). If you hold back on saying things are really want to practice with a diminished impact in the loss of a relationship, practice on your family and best friends.
Of course I am not advocating telling you thought your mother was a failure and that's why you are too. If your best friend has been doing something recently and it has really been getting under your skin, bring it up to them. Come from a place of wanting to understand them and wanting to be understood yourself.
Keeping emotional uproar at bay is paramount.
If you see something that doesn't resonate with being a good person, say something. For instance, some ass hole, meat head parked in a handicapped parking spot. Kindly ask him if he is handicapped. There is a chance he is and you'll look like a fool- small chance though.
While a lot of being a good person lies in the mental and interpersonal realms of life, the physical sphere counts for a lot as well. Eating well, getting great sleep, exercise, and meditation all play vital roles in being able to operate at full optimization.
How are you going to recognize speaking up in the moment if your head is clouded by the bacon mac-and-cheese and Mexican Coca-cola you had for lunch? How are you going to get ready in the morning to work on yourself if you are hungover 3 days a week?
Not having it.
Now that you've made it.
You have responsibility now.
You are a leader. People will look to you to guide them. You will give it to people straight. You will go where others won't. You will make mistakes and the blame will fall on you.
This is where life begins.
You will need to be vulnerable in order to make a change.
You have "cleaned up your room." Over time it will dirty again. Make sure you're checking in periodically and keeping things neat and tidy.
Your life depends on it.
Being a good person, while hard is possible. It takes fully realizing what you are capable of; both good and bad, a choosing the former. It requires optimizing your body so your mind can flourish. It requires practice, even if it's hard and you are afraid.
When was the last time you were in a group setting and you noticed the glowing individual in the room. They spoke their mind, they argued their points when needed and showed general, true compassion for everyone in the room. They were a straight up good person.
Wouldn't it be great if that were you next time?