I often have thought about that makes a person “good.” What is it that one must do to achieve such a status? Or what does it take for someone to be a “bad” person? I am not talking about someone who commits a crime, just a person who breaks a social norm. How does a person go from doing everything okay to no longer being good?
I always figured I was a good person; that is until I wasn’t. As a child, it never occurred to me that one day I may be “bad,” neither as a teen did I ever think one day I may be bad. It wasn’t until I was already “bad” that I even realized. Fast forward to the day I never thought would come. I hurt someone I cared for deeply. Even now it is hard for me to talk about, I never wanted to hurt anyone. I was in a relationship with someone for a long time. We were best friends throughout high school, and we eventually got married. I felt as though all my dreams were coming true.
I guess I ought to back up a bit, so everyone can, at least, try to understand what happened. I am not the type of person to follow someone; I would classify myself as a leader. My ex and I found ourselves at a crossroads. He wanted to join the military, and I absolutely did not want that to happen. I had a great fear for his safety, and the idea of us being apart for so long made me uncomfortable. We through the idea around for quite a while until one day, for whatever reason, I caved. I decided that if it would make him happy, he should do it, and I would join too. There were many reasons I joined the military, and this was a big part. And so, we joined. I went to basic first, and let me tell you, that place sucked. While I was in Advanced Individual Training, AIT, he was in basic. We were both busy all the time doing different things. When two people are in a situation where nearly all of their time is demanded, it makes staying in contact virtually impossible. I am not trying to make excuses, just explain myself. And so I began to drift emotionally. Then it progressed into full-on cheating. And, just like that, I was a bad person. And believe me, I knew it. Every day I spent knowing I was wrong and awful, but it was too late.
Even thinking back to this time in my life makes me hate myself all over again. I cheated on the person to whom I was supposed to be committed. I broke all trust; I was a bad person. I finally knew how all those “bad” people felt; awful, terrible, low, sick, ugly, worthless, etc. Because I did something so inexcusable, I decided a divorce was the only way to fix things. I’m sure many people this is counterintuitive, but to me, it was the only option. To me, there was no reason to stay together if I could break this trust it could happen again. I didn’t want it to happen again, but I could never trust myself. I still to this day think I made the best decision.
For the next six months, I hated myself, and I should explain that I don’t hate anyone. I was depressed, I didn’t think I had any worth, and I was a bad person. This time in my life I smoked, I drank excessively, and I wound up in several situations I should not have been in. If it had not been for some great people, I probably would have gotten into trouble too.
Then, just when I thought I would never be worthy of feeling good again, I met someone new. He was like a ray of light that broke through the clouds that surrounded me. He made me want to be a better person, and he made me be a better person. And so I found myself back as one of the “good” people again.
I guess my point in this post is to say; if you know someone who screwed up royally, maybe they aren’t a bad person. Perhaps, they once were a “good” person who did something wrong. Maybe they hate themselves for what they did. Maybe you could try to see things through their eyes, or even better, perhaps you could help them recover their “goodness.” I know it’s easy to assume that they are and have always been the wrong kind of person. I know it’s simpler to gossip and sneer at their mistake, but let’s come together as a society and try to help each other.
And finally, let’s realize that there are no “good” or “bad” people occasionally everyone makes a mistake.