Are You a Genuinely Good Person?

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In her article titled “Are you a good person, or just insecure?”  attorney Lidija Hilje essentially asks whether the good things you do are done because they make you feel good, or instead beause you were taught to act that way/are fearful of the reprucusssions if you don’t do good/believe in a more theoretical way that good for good’s sake makes it right. The reason this is important, she argues, is that motivation lies behind whether the act (and therefore the person) is genuinely good.

For example, is the act of holding the door open for someone sufficieiently good in and of itself, or does it matter that you only do so for cute girls you’re interested in talking to?

By extension, is it possible to do good for the wrong reasons? Is spending time with your grandfather only in his twilight years a kind act on its own, or does it matter that you’re trying to wiggle your way into his will?

These are the types of questions Ms. Hilje examines in her piece and she basically comes up with three things to change our underlying motives. Here’s a short summary.

1. Detect

The hardest part with making a change is detecting what needs to be changed. Since we are subjective by nature, and since we pretty much appear super normal to ourselves, this part is a challenge. On the other hand, just by detecting notions that are harmful, more than half your job is done.

2. Deflect
When you’ve realised what you need to work on, or when you recognise in a certain situation that your motivation is off, make the effort to make the change in the right direction. This will sometimes mean saying no to some people you have usually said yes to; it might also mean standing up to people you never stood up to before. It is very trying, but well worth it.

 

3. Respect

Yourself.

Make a conscious choice to have higher regard for your personal boundaries. Respect yourself enough to give yourself a gift of personal freedom.

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