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The curse of the “good person”

“The most important thing is to be a good person!”- I remember my mom’s words to me and I believe in them. But no one explained to me who to be kind to and what a “good person” looks like.

In childhood we clearly set the boundaries of “good” and “bad” and they leave a familiar territory, like that game we used to play with many names(Cur, Boom). In short, a rectangle with four bases at the ends, in which we moved according to rules and had our refuge and safe place.

Growing up, I applied my childhood-created knowledge of right and wrong, but it turned out that the world of grown-ups was three-dimensional and mine remained two-dimensional, and so my secure base became distorted, escaped me, even often I didn’t see it, missed it, and was angry. Why am I “good” and not feeling good at all?

This led me to many and fundamental questions. What does it mean to be “good”? Maybe to help others? Or to retreat?

There is an expression in the Bulgarian language, “He is a good man, and he makes way for the ant.”

And where’s my path if I’m forever worrying about stepping on an ant I may not have even seen? Am I being kind to myself if I don’t look inward, at my needs? And then there is this contradiction where I have to choose between myself and my comfort and that of the ant (since it is not always possible to be comfortable with myself and not disturb the ant at the same time). This choice is not clear-cut and here is the important lesson, here comes the three-dimensionality involved in judgement.

“I don’t feel like going out, but I will – I promised”, “I need a break, but I can’t take one so I don’t burden my colleagues”, “I won’t argue because I’m a good person”.

There is no rule, advice or algorithm for action. Whatever I choose – it has its price. Three-dimensionality lies in my maturity to accept my choices and the cost that comes with them. Then there is no contradiction, I know why I chose myself, or why I chose the ant.

Well, especially in today’s world, the price is characterized by inflation. The inflation will be in relation to my experience, my past, my parents, my upbringing, the accumulation… Choices are not always easy, and the price is fair. This exhausts the delicate balance of modern daily life. Anger, misunderstanding, frustration, lack of communication, guilt – everything spins in the centrifuge of the decision.

Containment of the energy inward is a likely future explosion and as such is characterized by high impact force and lack of precision. I explode and it no longer matters where, in front of whom or how much.

And am I actually a “good person”?