I always thought my biggest fear was losing loved ones, the dark and/or being vulnerable. It turns out I was wrong. Of course losing loved ones is still high on my list but what truly scares me is not being a ‘good’ person. A few months back, I was listening to Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations and I listened to Elizabeth Gilbert’s interview as she spoke about life and death. I found her interview very satisfying to listen to. Oprah asked “What is your biggest fear?” Elizabeth replied “not being a good person”. I instantly felt her words. I felt them in such a deep way I cannot explain, I instantly nodded my head in agreement. My biggest fear in life is not being a ‘good’ person. All we leave behind in life are memories, not our purse collection nor our Rolex watches. We get buried with the memories and all we leave our loved ones are the tears, pain and the memories… The good and bad ones. I fear not measuring up to being good to others and myself.
Yesterday, I celebrated my twenty fifth birthday. It was a day filled with great emotion and gratitude. I received so many beautiful messages from loved ones. A part of me, couldn’t understand what I ever did to deserve such beautiful messages. I was told “you’re special”, “you’re a beautiful soul”, “The world needs more people like you.” and a close friend wrote “If everyone in this world got to be around you for 10 minutes they would have a better life.” The words were just too beautiful. They touched me in such a way I can’t put into words. As the messages continued to come in, I couldn’t help but ask myself “Are you really this person?” Honestly, I know that I am not a bad person but I really never realized how my presence has affected those around me. I keep asking myself “what makes a person ‘good’?” I know it is in their actions, behavior and intentions but it must go beyond that. I sometimes do nice things for others, I am thoughtful, emotional and extremely empathetic. Does that make me a ‘good’ person?
My heart breaks a little every time I see strangers with broken shoes. It breaks my heart to see someone hurting someone else’s feelings. It breaks my heart to see people cry in agony but I never know how to approach the situation. I tense up and overthink what to say to make them feel better. I work in a public High School and anyone who has worked in a school knows how it can tug on your heart strings. I hear so many sad stories that break my heart. One girl in particular has grown on me although she doesn’t talk, she’s been through a tough time and hasn’t been eating much lately. She refused to eat the school’s food. I had two sandwiches I had made for myself for lunch and I offered her one of them. She ate the sandwich from edge to edge, watching her eat the sandwich made me secretly happy. I woke up the next morning and made one sandwich for me and one for her. I chased her down during lunch just to give it to her along with fruit snacks. Although she didn’t speak, I saw a smile on her face. I woke up the following day and made one for each of us again. I chased her down again and brought her to my office. I gave her the sandwich and she looked up at me and smiled and said “thank you.” As I said before, she doesn’t talk and much less to staff members but I got her to speak on two occasions which filled my heart. Does that make me a good person? We often do thoughtful gestures for others and we subconsciously hope to feel ‘good’ after. We long for that feeling of warmth. Are we ‘bad’ for doing so? Are we ‘bad’ for expecting a rush of warmth to flush through our bodies as we do a good deed?
Last night, this really hit in a place where it hurt so much to think about. I sat up in my bed and thought about it for a long time. Am I a good person? What makes a person good? Is it determined by how others see you or is it how you see yourself?
Polish the Soul xx