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How to tell if you're a good person

I try to be a good person... My mom always says I am... Hopefully, that means something.

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s.e. Jones wrote a long but worthwhile list, Christine:

1 - If you show empathy for others. One of the things about good people is that they care about other people in ways that aren't about themselves. They feel the pain or sadness of others and express that understanding to them.

2 - If you don't intentionally hurt others. Good people don't hurt other people. That's just the way it is.

3 - If you go out of your way to do something for other people. Good people do things for their fellow man. They do things for their neighbors, for friends and family, for their community. In short they do things for others without the need for attention or reward.

4 - If you give your time for things that don't help you. In general, good people give some of their time for things that need doing or for people that need help. They do so because it feels right to them, not because of any anticipated reward or recognition.

5 - If you're polite, kind and understanding when dealing with others. Good people treat other people with love and respect. They are kind and understanding of others and their situations. They are humble and don't look down on others. If you are good person, than you don't either.

6 - If you don't wish ill-will on others. Good people try to understand other people rather than judge and wish negative things on them. They don't try to get even or manipulate or work the system in seeking revenge.

7 - If you forgive those who harm you. Yes, it's true. Good people do whatever is necessary to find it within themselves to forgive those who have done them wrong.

8 - If you are always honest. Good people don't lie or hide behind facades to protect themselves from the truth. They don't mislead or manipulate. They say what they believe is true and correct and stand up for what they believe is right.

9 - If you allow others there turn without remonstration. Good people are not greedy, they are just as happy to allow others their share as they are to have that which makes them happy.

10 - If you constantly strive to be better. Good people are humble and realize they have their own faults and thus strive to constantly improve themselves. They look at how they are living their lives and wherever necessary make corrections so as to be all the things listed above.

It's a great list but it's also a regular challenge to be good.

I'm not good at #7... schadenfreude is one of my favorite indulgences.... 

You can forgive them but still enjoy them dealing with the consequences of their actions.

I don't know about that;) If you were truly being "good" could you "enjoy" or would you be compelled to work toward neutrality?  Let's consult some experts on that... 

If you look at psychoanalysis (Melanie Klein, etc), everyone is born with a sadistic side (babies want to destroy the mother (or object) with their teeth, etc...

I believe how these impulses get incorporated into the ego (or regulated by the Super Ego) determine how an adult manages those impulses. 

Basically, these things have deep roots...

Here's a summary:

The oral-sadistic phase of infantile libidinal organization is the second part of the oral stage, as described by Karl Abraham; it is also known as the cannibalistic phase. During this period incorporation means the destruction of the object, so the relationship to the object is said to be ambivalent.

Wow, that's eye opening. No wonder humans have such capacity for sadism.

And yes, being a good person means something.

Jason, you're - we're - only human.  Check the last bullet.

The 16 basic desires are:

  • Acceptance, the need for approval
  • Curiosity, the need to think
  • Eating, the need for food
  • Family, the need to raise children
  • Honor, the need to be loyal to the traditional values of one’s clan/ethnic group
  • Idealism, the need for social justice
  • Independence, the need for individuality
  • Order, the need for organized, stable, predictable environments
  • Physical Activity, the need for exercise
  • Power, the need for influence of will
  • Romance, the need for sex
  • Saving, the need to collect
  • Social Contact, the need for friends (peer relationships)
  • Status, the need for social standing/importance
  • Tranquility, the need to be safe
  • Vengeance, the need to strike back

I suppose being a good person means we must learn to transcend some of our basic desires.

One of the most effective things I've done to increase my happiness is giving up comparison and judging.  I find when I judge people, I also feel judged (like when you gossip you start wondering who is gossiping about you.) if I don't think "they got what they deserved" but rather "that must hurt," And move on to going back to caring for my own actions in the world, I feel more confident and comfortable.  

Comparison is the path to misery, and I think it's true of both feeling weaker AND feeling superior.

I agree with everything you said... 

I would add that I've found that sending positive energy outward to people actually increases the amount of positive energy you get back.....

I've also found that being attractive and unattractive determines how well this works.   At points in my life when I have been thought of as 'pretty,' girls are less likely to be nice to me... when less attractive, girls are nicer to me because they don't feel threatened...

guys are the opposite....

if you're considered less attractive as a woman, you are usually invisible to men on that level, but it seems easier to form friendships that don't get confusing..

of course, self-esteem is wrapped up in all of this, so you have to do what feels comfortable at the time...sometimes, being invisible works....

compassion starts at home. When I feel sexy/cute/attractive, I get treated that way. When I feel ugly and shameful I get treated that way too. I really wonder how much we tell people how to treat us! 

I've been digging Brene Brown's latest book, Daring Greatly. So much of our experience of the world is completely under our control!

Thanks so much for sharing.  What an awesome video!

I especially appreciate the discussion on how vulnerability opens us to love, joy and creativity...The trick is to navigate it & have courage to open yourself to connection, even at the risk of rejection, shame or being hurt.

I think this is why having supportive family and friends is key....If you commit a shameful or hurtful act and express remorse, friends who are also in touch with their vulnerability and actually value you as a person, will at least give you a second chance (or for family, multiple chances) to redeem yourself. 

My best friends are the ones who have seen me at my worst, yet still see value in me, even if I'm not valuing myself at the time.   It's not about being pathetic or needy, because you have to check that sh*t at the door for sure... however, sometimes you have to be reminded of your core goodness by those who can see you objectively...and if something needs to be fixed, hopefully they are honest enough to tell you to your face...

I think of these friends/family as 'enlightened' souls, and have met many of them over the years who I keep in my heart, even if I never see them....

Unfortunately, most people today are not like that....after all, self-protection is key to survival...maybe vulnerability is too threatening and they don't see the value..

But in my case, for my temperament, I don't think I even have a choice to be not vulnerable sometimes...It's who I am...It's key to my sense of well-being and happiness.

However, it also requires vigilance, because being the target of other people's negative energy is all too common in today's stressed out, commercialized society....In these cases, extraction and/or isolation from specific situations is always an option...


"Vulnerability opens us to love, joy, and creativity." Well said!

And thank you Christina for recommending Brene Brown's TED Talk:

One of the hardest things to learn is how to absorb negative energy from others and not push it onto someone else -- and not let it consume you, too! It's a very challenging thing to do.

"Vulnerability Opens Us to Love, Joy, and Creativity" gets glued to my mirror right now ....

Adam, you read my mind!  I'm really glad you posted this video.  I'm also familiar with Brene Brown's video-- really nice.

Thanks for post this, not me!  I was wondering what what a good person is when you mentioned that!  I really enjoyed this, and I appreciate the learning.

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