Believing in the Good

I know that I might sometimes come across as a little callous and cold on the Twitter. (Give me a break. It’s a 140 characters at a time.) But, I am generally a very warm and happy person. I’ve blogged about how I am trying to be outwardly happier and find the silver lining more often, even when life is the suck. However, it is totally true that I have a serious bitch streak. Once you’re dead to me, we are done forever; only, it takes a really long time for that to occur. This post is a bit about one of the characteristics I see in myself that might do me more harm than good, but I won’t change it; even if I am changing all the things in 2012 for the better.

Ultimately, I believe that most people are good inside. They may have a fake exterior that works like a coat of armor, but I almost always believe that someone gets to see their good, mushy inside. Frankly, that pretty much describes me, even. I have a very close inner circle that sees the real person behind the Twitter persona.  I believe so deeply in the goodness of people that I end up giving everyone the benefit of the doubt and so I give the people in my life a lot of chances. Many people have taken advantage of me for this. I don’t dwell on that as much as I focus on the people who I’ve bent over backwards for and trusted, who have always returned the favor. Friendship and relationships are give and take.

So, I was talking to someone today about how I believe this in people; this ultimate goodness that must exist somewhere in everyone, even if it’s deep inside. And it lead to this sort of awful debate in my head about how this really was a terrible weakness I have and why do I still believe in people. Literally, I kind of ended up in this parallel conversation with myself in my office about this weakness, this naivete, I possess and it made me feel bad.

The strongest case in point of my unearned trust and belief in the good in people is my relationship, or lack thereof, with my father. The short version is that my parents married briefly as teenagers, my father took off, and we had no real relationship until he sort of awkwardly ended back up in my life when I searched him out to tell him my mother, his first love, had died. My whole life I have given my father a bazillion chances to connect, disappear, and reconnect. Fast forward to the current day: my expectations for him are low; our contact is not currently constant, but it was my unwavering faith in the goodness of people that made me decide to accept him for the flawed human he is and just be OK with it. I mean, I get a birthday card now, at least. And I don’t believe him to be a mean person, at all. I think he’s probably just at a loss for how to have a relationship with a daughter he’s  never really known. So, I don’t think this one has turned out too badly, really.

Sometimes believing in the good does not always end well. My ultimate belief that every one is good, at their core, lead me to think that friendships were always thicker than water, or something, and that when push came to shove, people I had done everything for, and let into my life in the most personal ways, would return the goodness to me. I was wrong. In retrospect, I was wrong for way too long and the pain I caused myself, again through my naivete, was no one’s fault but my own. I lost a friendship recently because I asked the person for too much. I asked my friend to stick up for me, when I felt I had done the same for her at least, time and again. I was done being kicked around in ways that this friend and her friend thought were hidden from me and I wanted to be treated fairly. Because I believe that everyone is good, I believed that on Christmas morning, people would find their hearts, stop being mean, put their insane quarrels aside, and just find a way to coexist and be nicer to each other. I was so wrong.

This is the year that I change things about myself and my life and if I’m not happy with something, I need to figure out how to be happy or change it. No moping, no acting powerless, no being the victim. But what if it’s something that’s the very essence of what has caused some things to go badly for me, but I refuse to change it? If I can no longer believe that everyone is good, at their core, then I’m left believing the opposite. And, really, how sad is that?


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6 Responses to “Believing in the Good”

  1. Hardin Reddy says:

    I wonder whether the good you see in people is proportional to their instinct for self-preservation and survival; those who value themselves most tend to value others more as well. Perhaps sometimes this is well-hidden, and other times we’re just blind to the signs. As you hinted in the last paragraph.

    In the case of your former friend, it’s apparent to me that she had conflicting loyalties and may not have seen the situation the same way you did. Though I’m sure there’s more to the story.

  2. Wine Librarian says:

    There is. But, I really don’t want to blog or tweet about people, you know? I think you are right about the people who value themselves and then value others, though.

  3. Joy says:

    I have asked myself that same question more times than I can count. I agree w/ what you said here. It’s just sad that everyone is not a caring person. There are those who care about and try to help others and then, there are those who care only about themselves. Unfortunately, these days, it seems to be the latter who are winning out in life. I won’t be swayed from my own standards I set for myself. I still strive to be a good person because it’s who I am. No matter how many bitches I run across in my lifetime I have to run across (& believe me there have been many) I will remain who I am because if they’re a bitch to me, their opinion of me means nothing to me either. Some would say that I’m elitist that way. I say I am who I am and no one will ever change that!

  4. Wine Librarian says:

    Thank you for sharing, Joy. :) I agree. Let’s just stay trust to ourselves.

  5. John says:

    My relationship with my father is, perhaps, the most complicated relationship in my life. The only reason, I believe, that either of us try to maintain any semblance of a relationship is because we feel like we have to. I don’t sense any affection from him, and I know I don’t feel any toward him.

    There are very, very real reasons, that I can’t go into in detail, about why I’ll never seek to repair the nearly-non-existent relationship, though.

    This goes a long, long way into describing the relationships I have in my life now — that one relationship is a bit of a dark cloud that affects everything else.

    And, yeah, the “Snarky Armor” that you wear online? I think we got ours from the same manufacturer.

  6. mspad says:

    You cannot control other people or how they treat you. Only how you react to them. That’s the only thing under control – how you act. The rest, just leave it up to the universe.

    I enjoy reading your blog. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.