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Potentially Problematic: Being our own “good”


If anyone tried to count the number of “be the best version of yourself” speeches that they had heard in their lifetime, the number would probably be too high to count. It’s what we’ve been told since the day we were born: “be the best version of yourself.”

Anya Veach

Well, as much as I appreciated the enthusiasm, I wasn’t so keen on the identity crisis that came with it.

I’ve always been obsessed with the idea of being a good person. But the struggle of finding what a “good person” was took its toll on me. I tried being as optimistic, as kind, and as trusting as I could be. I was being the best I could be. Yet, it came to no avail. My actions, while appreciated by some, were more frequently taken for naivete. It seemed that no matter who I made myself to be, I was never a “good” enough person.

Finding myself in situations with potentially problematic outcomes while trying to do the right thing became a daily ordeal for me. I wanted to please everyone, but, in doing so, I found myself wavering a bit on the foundation for wellness that I had thought I’d built to be steady and sure.

It took me an unfortunate and embarrassingly long time to understand why I felt that way. At first, I thought that maybe I was actually an awful person and doing something that was considered good just felt plain wrong. But I have a hard time believing that nearly anyone is that terrible of a person, mostly because being a good person isn’t as difficult as I had thought it to be.

“Being a good person isn’t a destination, it’s something we pursue all the time.”

Being a good person doesn’t mean anything other than finding your morals and sticking to them. It means understanding each other and the fact that we are all, in our own way, striving to be good people in the way that we believe is right. Above all, it means being the best versions of ourselves that we can be and not holding back on who we are.

“Being a good person isn’t a destination,” said author Nesta Jojoe Erskine, “it’s something we pursue all the time. Sometimes we will fail, but it’s alright.”

I don’t believe that I’m a bad person; I don’t believe many people truly are. I believe that we just need to be our own good people. We need to be good to ourselves and to one another, but we must be our own individual kind of good. We must be the best that we are capable of being.

So I suppose I shouldn’t hate motivational speakers quite so much.

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