This topic is a hard one to really discuss but something I feel is incredibly important. The subject is being a good person, or dragon, or whatever else you might be. I do not mean this in being good as in “I’m an awesome dragon!” but being good natured, strong, but also capable of nurturing.
Nature vs Nurture
Being a good person is hard to do because a lot of people think they are good. Nobody is truly malicious, barring people who intentionally act on hurting others, either physically or emotionally, for pleasure. That one is an outlier, but the truth is most people try, and usually believe, they are doing what’s best for themselves, and for others. Often times people get lost in only focusing on themselves instead of others leading to selfish acts, but everyone is guilty of that including me. Many people who are selfish, if faced with a crisis, will go out of their way to help others even at risk to themselves. But how we perceive what is good or not, likewise how selfish vs selfless we are, tends to be nature vs nurture.
I was brought up a very selfish household, as well as emotionally abusive but we have discussed that before! Everything was about ‘me me me’ with all those surrounding me, family included. I sought out people like me online, my main escape and thus primary focus, looking for people who thought like me because it was how I felt I should be, rather than taking a step back to look at the different people from each part of my life and really determine who is good. It is a trap many of us can get stuck in, and oh boy was I stuck in it for a good while, most of my life in fact. Each toxic person I added to my group of friends became further justification that the actions I was taking were right. Selfishness was the game and I can only look after me. This was how I was nurtured, but at the same time I would commit acts of good, of complete selflessness because deep down my nature felt it was right.
Life as a Selfish Person (aka an Asshole)
I hurt people, including people who were family to me. This was not intentional, of course, but a byproduct of how I was. I can claim emotional abuse all day but it wouldn’t be the whole story. Being a selfish person doesn’t mean acting maliciously to ignore others, but being entirely unaware of the consequences of your actions or, as what happened to me, not caring because “You can always take care of it later.” But you can’t, you can’t take care of it later because the hurt affects so many. It cascades beyond the one person you wronged and can become an uncontrollable fire that spreads from one bridge to the next. And do you know how I used to get over it? Find a new set of bridges and leave the others as a smoldering wreck. A reputation begins to follow you and you become known as someone who mistreats, someone who lies, someone who hurts others. It is true, too, because I did do that, and I was aware of it and didn’t care or figured “well it can take care of itself.” This is usually the same trap that snares so many and because it always happens you just assume its how people are and blame them instead of owning to it being your actual fault.
I wrote before about forgiving yourself, which is the first step to letting yourself mend… But to begin mending you must first identify the wound itself. You must figure out what you are doing, where you went wrong, how it got there. I used to claim I changed, but would slip right back into the same habits, the same mistakes, the same pains to inflict on others. It was bad, and often times when I screwed up I’d let myself slip back because what the hell? You already had fucked up again, so why change? Why would anything make a difference? But I kept trying, kept on, trying it over and over because I hurt people who believed in me, who cherished me. People who actually cared, who considered me close. As often as it is said, it is true: you never know what you had until its gone. For someone like me, that was a huge shock, rattled me deep and forced me on the right path. I lost people who actually cared and were not the toxic selfishness I had surrounded myself with but I was too short-sighted to see it.
You can’t live as an asshole forever for if you do, you will never allow yourself to live.
Scars Will Remain
For someone like me, I was always a good person deep down. I masked it under bad behaviors but I did care, and each person I lost due to my actions, I would justify it as a reason to keep the same behaviors going. “It wasn’t me, it was them!” “Nobody understands it/me!” “Don’t worry, I won’t fall into that trap, I’m stronger!” “I don’t need help, I’m fine!” All the lies we tell ourselves, over and over… Until we finally add enough pressure to stop them from flowing. It eventually heals, but we’ve lost a lot of friends in the process, family, connections we could have had and have to struggle to not let ourselves drown in the what-ifs. We move forward, because we must. We mustn’t focus on the past of what we did, but live in the here and now, and make sure every moment we don’t slip back to where we were. We have to live with what we did, but we won’t have to let it define us.
The real thing about being a good person is it is the hardest path to take. It is full of emotional turmoil, strain, loss, but it is worth it. The selfish asshole route is the easiest, but least rewarding. Accept and love people, and yourself, and let them into your life. Listen to their advice and make sure the people you surround yourself do the same for you, accept advice, listen to you, love you and let themselves be loved. Always give as much as you get, and get as much as you give. You can be the best you to ever exist, because you are, and deep down you are a good person, the best, the most awesome whatever you are. Let it shine!
But there will always be scars for us who started the easy path and moved to the hard. They will always be there, and they will hurt. In those moments, remember where you are now, what you have changed, and that you can still do so much more. Sometimes the pain will be almost overwhelming, but just remember, it is okay to cry.
I’ve realized this topic needs a lot more coverage, so it will be chopped into two parts.
Part 2 will cover steps I’ve learned on how to improve. Stay tuned… ^^