Being Good

For several years I have been obsessed with the idea of trying to be a “good” person. Yet when someone asked me the other day what that means to me, I could not immediately come up with an answer. I believed that to be good you must be good to others. Selflessness and humility are traits of being in such a state of self-perception. Apathy is shunned with proactive, yet self-perceived gestures of good faith favored. If you think of the welfare of others close to you before yourself, perhaps that is also a sign of being good. And if others react positively to your deeds which you as well as they perceive as embodying good (or else naiveté), then you are successful in honoring your pledge to yourself. My concept of good is related perhaps to a personal idea of moral good as opposed to a religious good, as I do not feel intensely passionate about my Christian faith, although I consider myself Christian. Actually lately I have been influenced by the concepts of Zen Buddhism. Nevertheless, at times I am lead astray by thoughts revolving around negative issues and scenarios in which I have been placed by work associates, friends, or unknowns.  Situations arise where I am slighted by someone’s words or actions directed at me, and subsequently I become obsessed at trying to find the root cause of the problem, how the situation could have been handled differently, in what ways, positive or negative, could I have reacted at the time, and so forth. Nevertheless during such moments negative thoughts are usually prominent. They run contrary to my pledge to be a good person, again something that is a subjective concept, perhaps a selfish one.  Thus I am left to wonder–if I strive to be good by doing good for others, am I in reality bad due to the negative thoughts about my relations with others as a consequence of a situation which led to my having such thoughts? When I choose to ignore the presence (outside of my home) of those who I perceive to have wronged me by words or actions or both, am I indeed being far from good? Does not a good, moral person forgive those who have insulted him as he believes they have? And how does he absolve himself of such a crisis, how can he come to terms with forgiving someone who has caused him much anxiety, anger, or grief? These questions perhaps cannot necessarily be immediately answered, yet they are things to ponder. The concepts of good versus bad have intrigued millions of souls perhaps since the dawn of modern man. Yet it is disconcerting that no cohesive, common answer about the differences between the two concepts exists across all civilized cultures.


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