For a long time, I obsessed over calibrating my moral compass to the “right” direction. I thought I could only find self-worth if I became someone deserving of it.
How “good” do you have to be, to be a “good person”? What are the defining characteristics of good behaviors versus bad ones? Is the value of “goodness” in the intention, or the action, or the outcome? How much of myself do I have to sacrifice to not be considered “selfish”? How much of our ideas of what is (un)acceptable only a social construct?
Over time, I started veering away from the idea that there is, even specific to an individual, a strict set of moral codes that deem you “good” or “evil.”
It is an illusion that sometimes, good people do bad things, and bad people do good things. We are all just people, doing shit that we think is okay. There are no real “good” or “bad” people.
Perhaps altruism is less defined by the things you do, but what led you there and your ability to stand by your decisions.
I have done some extremely questionable things in the past. I have, also, been selfless and helpful. This does not make me a villain, nor a saint.
"Good" or "bad" actions, I understand myself and the things I’ve done. I have no regrets, not because I have been perfect, but because I have done the best with what I had.
Even Disney villains, when their stories are explained, make the audience feel for them. Empathize. Once we see how the “evil” ones turned “evil,” they no longer become “evil” in our eyes- only relatable, likable, even.
We are all struggling enough with the harsh practicalities of life, to deal with nebulous and unanswerable questions about whether we are good, deserving, worthy…
All the time I’d wasted trying to figure out how I could be-
I wish I had realized that I am. Despite all my mistakes and shortcomings, I am.