The Difficulty of Being Good

Last night, I was so hungry I hit the bakery and ordered a dozen of cheap, delicious bread. While the irritable bakery lady was getting my order, a dirty child approached two of the customers dining in and begged for bread repeatedly. The two ladies just kept on talking as though they were deaf to the world. I couldn’t hate or curse that they may rot in the depths of hell because if I should be honest, I behaved just like them more times than I can remember.

How often have you turned a blind eye to the misfortunes of others when it was supposed to be in your power to help ease the burden they carry? 20 times? 100 times? A million times?

No, I am not about to preach that we should all take care of one another because every person in this earth is our brother or sister. Nor would I help you to become a better person. I have enough shame on my pants not to do that. Rather, I would like to discuss why it is so hard for us to SHARE – our time, money, food, skills, boyfriends, services, among others – without getting anything in return

But why is it, really?

Theory no. 1: We have been raised to become selfish.

I love my parents and all the adults who helped in molding me to become the ridiculously self – righteous person I have become. They have all done their best to produce an individual the whole world could be proud of (read: a RARITY). But could you remember those times they told you to keep your toys to yourself and to your brothers/sisters because that (insert neighbor’s name here) child breaks anything he ever puts his hands on? Or those moments when they told you finishing education is a must (which it is) because only then could you be a successful person? At a young age, they have already unconsciously wired us up with the-world-is-selfish/there’s-no-such-thing-as-free-lunch anthem. Not that we could blame them.

Theory no. 2:  We are scared.

Scared of what? Scared of being taken advantage of, perhaps? Maybe we are thinking that there are so many con artists and syndicates today behind homeless beggars that the thought of helping them and picturing those goons enjoying your loot is just too much to handle. Maybe we are so scared that if we do something to help people, they might milk us out until we cannot even help our own sorry selves. Maybe we are so concerned of what the noble, jealous, and insecure citizens of the world might think of our every actions that for the dread of being labeled as good people phony philanthropists (a.k.a. someone feigning higher, humanistic, ENDANGERED principles), we prefer not to make any action at all. Maybe you have your own list of secret fears that keep you from lending a helping hand to the oppressed, lonely, hungry, hopeless people in this sad, dreary, miserable world. Yeah, probably that…or maybe


Theory no. 3:  …we have simply become numb.

I should have made this my theory number one. I write according to what my head dictates at the spur of the moment and this didn’t come first. However, I have a very strong gut feeling this must be the reason we have ceased to pursue the carrying out of deeds for the greater good. The access to cosmic amounts of information (no, I am not condemning the Internet to eternal damnation) leads us to be knowledgeable about the bad news happening everywhere and anywhere that we have unavoidably become cynics – unfeeling cyborgs of the information age. The world is suffering from too much lack of money, food, savings, genuine friendships, toiletries, waterproof roofs, respect, originality, compassion, and tolerance that the act of GIVING out more of one’s self already seems to be a herculean task.

It seems that as I write, I have discovered that being good really means being generous with the things you can give that will be useful to the feat of the receiver becoming a better person. Becoming a person worthy of a space in this overpopulated planet is difficult when you have a gnawing stomach. Think about it, even forgiveness is something one gives to another which in its own could very useful for the other’s achievement of inner peace.

Ahhh…Inner Peace. Wouldn’t that be bliss?

  • “I’ve made shoes for everyone, even you, while I still go barefoot.” – Bob Dylan

Image courtesy of Google Images


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