Am I a Good Person?

We have all at some point in our lives asked ourselves this question. It is the very nature of the human condition. At a fundamental level many of us hold a core belief that we are not good enough and not worthy enough to achieve our fullest potential. Psychological studies involving babies and children have proven time and again that all human beings are born altruistic, kind, loving and giving in nature. What happened? Why do we ask it and why then do we doubt ourselves so much to ask it in the first place? Here’s a snapshot foray into a few self-improvement techniques that will help you shift perspective for the better.

Let’s start by defining the concept of good and bad. Although all of us have our unique fingerprints, gifts, talents and personalities, we are in fact, remarkably similar. We are born and undergo numerous experiences in our lives that build up what is referred to as a World View. This is the basis of Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy.

It is how we process the world around us, make sense of the feelings that we have in certain situations and the principles that govern the choices we make. Social conditioning, life experiences including traumas, religious and spiritual belief systems and societal norms often contribute to our definition of good and bad. Generally, good is thought of as an action or our conduct when we are given a choice between possible actions.

A good person always acts from a higher place of love and humility. Being humble does not mean that you think less of yourself, it means that you think of yourself less. You act compassionately, kindly, altruistically, empathetically and do no harm to self, others and the world around you. But does acting in this manner mean that you are a good person? The answer lies in your Intention.

Some of us do good deeds because we are Approval Seeking Addicts and People Pleasers or because we feel guilty about past transgressions. Stop. You are worthy. You do not need external validation to prove that you belong. You are a good person. Sometimes good people make poor choices, it doesn’t make them bad people.

Good Thoughts. Good Words. Good Deeds. Best Outcomes!

It is at this point that I would like to call your attention to Zoroastrianism. It is one of the world’s oldest religious faiths along with Taoism, Hinduism and Buddhism, predating Christianity. It’s central creed in a nutshell is “Good Thoughts. Good Words. Good Deeds.” Now, I am not suggesting that you follow this faith, instead, take a philosophical look at its practice.

Goodness is more than an act. It is a state of disciplined being. It is impossible for us to have good thoughts all the time. For infinite lightness, there is infinite darkness. So how do we ensure that we spiral upwards?

By choosing kinder words and doing kinder deeds. Good thoughts are not far behind. The Zoroastrians keep a piece of string with them at all times with three knots in them. Some wear them as a belt around the waist. Reveling in a negative thought? Touch the first knot. Speaking unkindly or reacting negatively? Touch the second knot. Being selfish? Touch the third. This results in good outcomes.

Good Words

Let’s pause and reflect on the importance of good words for a second. Human consciousness is believed to exist on five levels. Our most basic level of consciousness cannot distinguish between the words that we use when speaking to others and what is intended for ourselves. This is the basis of positive self-talk. Speak to others in a way that honours them and most importantly, yourself. Why? Because those unkind words stick to you and further build a negative internal core belief system. 

Good Deeds

We cannot and never should try to control the outcome. We cannot control how others act or behave. We are not puppet masters. What can we control? Our behaviour, the words we choose when reacting and the deed, how it is that we act and react. Instead, we focus on mastering ourselves and now understand that what the other is going through is an internal mirror of themselves.

Here are some Self Checks and Balances:

Random Acts of Kindness: Is my deed a good deed? Intoku is a Japanese word that translates to 'Good done in secret'. In Zen Buddhism, it's often used to describe the act of doing unpopular jobs without expecting praise or reward. We’ve all heard the phrase, when doing a good deed, leave the camera at home. Yes and no. If it inspires others to do good deeds then inspire - not at the expense of their misfortune however. It should never be a Public Relations stunt.

To find your intent behind your thoughts, words and actions, start by questioning everything, even the parameters, here are some healthy self-reflection questions to begin with:

  • Who am I when nobody is looking? Do I act and speak with integrity and impeccability?
  • Can I say that I am innocent every night before my head hits the pillow without feeling guilt or shame?
  • If not, do I need to ask for forgiveness, make amends and how? By identifying how I went wrong and working on correcting that perceived defect in character by changing my behaviour.
  • Am I the company I keep? Can I list a core of friends that influence me positively and support me unconditionally?
  • What defines me? What triggers me to react negatively or positively in certain situations?
  • Why am I motivated to be a good person? Is it because I genuinely care or because I am seeking praise? Do I give without expecting anything in return? Am I trying to manipulate the outcome?
  • How can I be better than I was yesterday? Through Honesty Openminded-ness and Willingness to forgive myself and others and let go of resentments and guilt by shifting mindset.

 

When we understand that we cannot control how other people perceive us, we can work on bettering ourselves, identifying our behaviours and making good choices. Use positive self-talk when speaking to and about others. And consider the power of the I AM phrase. Whatever you persistently say after that you start to practice and become. I am grateful, thank you. I am so happy for you, well done. I am working towards achieving my goals. I am successful. I am innocent.

 

Good Thoughts. Good Words. Good Deeds. Good Outcomes.