There are people who wake up puking rainbows, and singing sunshine into the world. I am not one of those people. There are people who upon hearing the statement, “No, no, no…What do you DO do?” don’t immediately whisper inside their own mind…’oh, man! He said doodoo!’… I am not one of those people. There are those who think happy thoughts, praise the ass hole at work for being slightly decent, and genuinely stop to smell all the roses. They are the clean ones, the untainted. I am not one of those people, but I do consider myself a “good” person. Why?
I recently had a very eye opening conversation with an intelligent man, regarding the inner most workings of the human being. I’m not talking about internal organs or the vascular system, I’m talking about the wayward workings of the heart and inner mind.
‘I wish I was a nicer person in my heart.’ He says, glancing over at me quickly before returning his attention to the road. The car ride has been mostly silent up until this point and I am slightly startled by the sound of his voice.
‘What do you mean?’ I ask, forcefully ripping my eyes from the clean pages of my recently purchased novel. It’s probably for the best that I put it down, my stomach is starting to get that queazy reading-in-a-car feeling.
‘I was just contemplating whether I should swerve now to facilitate your motion sickness, or wait until after we’ve had lunch so that it’s worse for you.’ He smiles at me, chuckles slightly and then goes back to driving.
‘Yeah, I wish you were a nicer person in your heart too!’ I say, before folding my receipt firmly between the pages of my book, and clamping it shut. I don’t want him to get any more ideas.
The truly remarkable thing about said conversation, is that it was followed by nothing. No swerving, no reckless driving to ensure my equilibrium stayed shaken…nothing. In fact, I would go so far as to say that his driving improved almost immediately. This, cruel thoughts-kind actions, mentality got me thinking. I don’t know about you, but there are countless times in my life where I have found my self thinking something cruel, inappropriate, mean, or downright nasty. I have plotted elaborate hoaxes, envisioned rivals tripping on their own feet, and my brother’s computer self combusting into a thousand tiny pieces. I have giggled internally about potty humor, and cursed out my mother. (Sorry mom…It was mostly in my 17th year… you know… THAT year.) All of this, without a soul’s knowledge save my own. I spend many days wishing that I was a better person in my heart, but does having these thoughts and feelings make me a “Bad” person? I don’t think so. I think that having these thoughts and feelings makes me a better person, to be honest.
On a typical day, I can have anywhere from 1-1000 horrible things pop into my head; the number is not predetermined, nor have I ever kept track. I firmly believe that it is in these thoughts that my moral code and ethical behavior is strengthened. Guilt, shame, and a desire to stand apart from these thoughts are all powerful motivators. There is a statement that’s been flying around for a great many years. ‘Actions speak louder than words.’
It is not in the thoughts or feelings that we have, but how we choose to process and act upon them that makes us who we are. I make a conscience effort to do good things, and be kind to others, partly because of the darkness that plagues my mind, and partly because I truly believe in being a better person. I have chosen not to be determined by what I was born with, but rather, forge my own path. I have no control over what I think, or how I feel, but I can control how I treat other people. I’m sure there are those in this world who doubt their morals and ethical fabric, because of these thoughts. Well, I’m here to tell you that no one is perfect, and that despite the little devil on our shoulder…we can be as good, or as bad, as we choose to be.
Imagine a world in which for every bad thought, a person performed an act of kindness… Even at 50% we’d be looking at a whole hell of a lot more beauty and friendship in the world. So yeah, we can all wish that we were better people in our hearts; we can dream of a day when we don’t make fun of the neighbor’s comb over, or think awful things when no one is listening. But if we want to be better people? All we have to do is…Be. Better. People.