The Trap of Being A "Good" Person
Psychologist Carl Jung famously said, "I'd rather by whole than good."
But what could possibly be bad about being good?
Why We Stay Stuck in Lower Emotions
On Dr. Hawkins scale of consciousness (image below), it is estimated that much of humanity is stuck on the lower end of the scale - primarily due to unresolved fear, shame, etc. While you might assume that we stay stuck in these emotions because we don't know how to heal, there's another possibility too - Surprising, we'd rather be GOOD than whole. Our ego might choose to stay in these states.
For example, look at pride in the "level" column. On Hawkin's scale, pride is a more positive emotion than fear, and in real life, it's easy to confirm that this is true. Pride simply FEELS better. At face value, any of us would choose to feel pride over fear. BUT: Think about the last prideful person you encountered... Did you like them? Or did you think they were showoffs who were not very down-to-earth?
Now look at anger + desire - the other two states of emotion that come just before we switch from negative to positive emotion (courage is the tipping point). These are the specific emotions that bridge the gap between negative + positive states of consciousness.
So sometimes, we stay in these lower states because they feel more authentic + good. We identify with being good people, and so we cut ourselves off from the aspects of ourselves that feed prideful, get angry, or have desire. However, these very emotions are the ones that must be processed + moved THROUGH if we are to move up the scale to experience emotions like courage, acceptance, joy, and peace.
How to Know if You're Doing This
There's a very simple way to determine if you're judging these emotions + not allowing yourself to move through them.
Ask yourself this simple question: Do I judge people who behave angrily, express desires of any kind, or act pridefully? Do you roll your eyes or think badly of them?
If your answer is yes, then at least some part of your ego would rather be GOOD than whole! ;)
What are you giving up by solely focusing on being good?
Well... a lot. If there is anything you desire for yourself that isn't considered "good" by your ego, your loved ones, society, etc - it gets shunned. If you are proud of an achievement and want to share it with people, you'll feel like you can't. If you won't let yourself get angry, you may even find yourself in situations where people take advantage of you.
So this over-commitment to being good can really turn into a quality of life issue.
If you read my blog often, you know I talk a lot about the subconscious. Anything authentic that is suppressed (like a desire or a personality trait) will operate in shadow. In other words, it becomes mental chaos because it is being suppressed. From this view, our only good choice is to allow these "not good" emotions to exist + express themselves (as responsibly as possible of course).
Aiming to be a good person is general is great. But when it's all you aim for, you technically lose your rights and boundaries. This is the case in the classic (and toxic) narcissist-empath relationship dynamic. The empath gives up on their own wants + needs in the name of "being a good person." Though they may mean well, what is really happening is this: The person is putting their ego's need to be good above everything - even their own safety and wellbeing. This is when being good can get destructive - when we're too good for our own good.. literally.
Being Good Is Not Rooted in Truth
Here's another tough pill to swallow. As kids, most of us were raised to follow rules. Especially in 'tough love' households where your only chance at getting approval was to do exactly what your parents wanted you to do, being good isn't really who you are. It's just what you needed to do as a scared little kid. It's not fair that we do this to children, but it's the way the system has worked for centuries. Fortunately, we can work our way out of this pattern by re-committing to ourselves + our wellbeing above all else.
What is REAL Goodness?
To clear up any confusion, I'm not advocating for evil! Of course, the world needs GOOD people - but not people who are acting good for approval. We need people who are so conscious, HEALED, + fulfilled in their life, that GOODNESS is all that can come out of them. In other words, we need people who are good from the inside out. This kind of goodness occurs naturally in humans - All we need to do is remove the obstacles that prevent people from accessing their true mental health.
If you pay very close attention, you can tell the difference between someone whose ego is attached to being "good," and someone who is truly happy and thus treats others with kindness. Those with ego attachments are not bad people of course, but it's the kind of behavior that doesn't lead to true life satisfaction. This kind of goodness can even become manipulative because we're not always fully aware of why we're acting "good." Genuine goodness, on the other hand, is never conditional - Genuine goodness does not ask for anything in return. It is simply goodness for the sake of it.
So don't strive to be a "good" person. Strive for WHOLENESS, SELF-ACCEPTANCE, and HEALING. From there, you'll never have to put in effort to be a good person.
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