When Bad Things Happen
Sometimes bad things happen to good people, but you know, sometimes bad things happen to bad people too.
You lose all your money, your partner leaves you (or literally stabs you in the back), your favorite possession is stolen, you’re passed over for a promotion, your brother dies, you literally lose your mind, you almost overdose on meth, you go blind, you suffer brain damage, you lose your job, and all your friends leave you.
These things happen to good people, they happen to bad people, they happen to everyone. So, being a good person doesn’t shield you from life’s shit, as the saying implies. What makes you a good person as opposed to a bad person is how you deal with that shit.
You can blame everyone else and swear that nobody has given you a chance, you can resign and become apathetic never helping yourself or anyone else, you can become angry and hurt yourself either physically or emotionally. But, the key here is that it is up to you.
Emotions are automatic levers that are pulled by our experiences. Sometimes they are out of control, and there’s seemingly nothing you can do about making them change or go away. Sometimes you can’t really feel them because they’re too far away. But, your reaction, your behavior, is always up to you.
Things may ‘make’ you angry, sad, or hurt, or maybe not feel anything at all, but they don’t make you into a victim. They don’t make you hit your partner, or get high, curse at your mother, steal from your friends, or never leave the house. You do that. It’s up to you.
Freedom comes with responsibility, and with responsibility comes freedom. Doing whatever you want with no consequence is not freedom because you can never change anything. Everything you do will have no effect on anyone but yourself. It reminds me of an episode of the Twilight Zone titled “A Nice Place To Visit”. You can only have change when you’re responsible for what you do.
It’s okay to hurt, to feel small, to cry, to rage against the wrong, or even rage against the good. It’s okay to feel anything you want. It’s not okay to hurt yourself or others by not taking responsibility for what you do.
So, the only way to BE a good person then, is to choose to be a good person in the face of adversity. Being good is not this intrinsic value that someone holds before something bad happens to them. And something bad happening to them does not make them a bad person, as the saying also implies. It’s because of life’s shit that we can become the good.