Weighing the Good Against the Bad

12 08 2010

Growing up, one of the things we all often heard is “to be a good girl!”  What this statement meant to me as a child is to have good manners and good etiquette.  To act like a lady, be polite, modest and never rude.   As I got older, the meaning really did expand to thinking beyond self and doing good to others. Think about it, as grown women, someone usually calls us good based on who we are and what we do. As we travel throughout life and move beyond just child to become students and then employees and maybe even boss, friends and girlfriends, wives and mothers, this quest to weigh the good against bad remains.  After all who wants to be called a bad student, employee, boss, friend, girlfriend, wife or mother? So this pursuit to be a good girl actually has us look at ourselves in the mirror and learn to function from a good place. 

Actually whether we realize it or not, in every role we play, we have a choice between good and bad.  The difference is that what you may think is good, I may NOT think is good.  Just think about the JetBlue crew member that has been in the news recently. This gentleman has over 100,000 facebook fans based on him going off on a JetBlue passenger who hit him in the head and lost it on him first.  Some folks are commending him for standing up for himself, others are saying the customer is always right which means regardless of how the customer was being, he should have kept his cool. Which way is good, which way is bad?  We can easily go one way or the other and sometimes what one of us feels is good, another may feel is bad.  Why is that?  We each have various life experiences, we all grow up in different neighborhoods, in different parts of the country, in different types of families, all of them dysfunctional, but everyone’s level of dysfunction is different and it is these experiences that make us who we are.  I am sure you can agree that you have wondered at times why folks have made what seems to be, to you, such a poor decision but to them it seems like the best decision ever!  This is because their experience is not your experience and therefore their definition of a great decision can be all together different from yours.  Yet we all go through life weighting the good against the bad and sometimes when we see folks make such poor decisions we are looking down at them for doing something we feel is stupid or wrong.   But have you ever stopped to look at things from that person’s shoes?  Have you evertried to understand it from their perspective?  After all if we are really being that good girl we were taught to be as children, isn’t that what a good girl would do?  Try to meet that person where they are instead of shutting them down for not doing what YOU thought should be done?  It amazes me the number of people that sit and judge others when in actuality it is not our role to judge, only God can do that and shoot if Jesus could hang out with the prostitutes and tax collectors (who were the bad folks in His day) then who the heck do I think I am that my choices are better than anyone else? Sometimes it can as simple as that person working with the cards that they were dealt and what may indeed be in your hand, definitely may not be in theirs.

Stop and think about this for a moment, when adversity and hardships come, how might you react? Then think about your best girlfriends, your sisters and the folks closet to you, how might they react ? Sitting down and discussing this with your inner circle may even lead to a healthy discussion.  You actually may be surprised that how you feel about Mr. JetBlue may be totally different than your crew.  In life sometimes there really is no right or wrong way to be, instead you come to your own conclusions based on your own  life experience which tells you what you believe is good.   So even if someone in your inner circle does something that you totally do not agree with (unless it is something that is obviously illegal like stabbing someone or robbing a bank) does your relationship endure the difference of opinion?  Knowing that it is HER/HIS life, not yours and her/his decision to make and your role is to love her/him through whatever she/he chooses. Or do you not do the good thing and shut the door on that friend and not hang in there with her/him despite the indifference?

Is there a definite norm of what is good or bad? Unfortunately, defining good and bad is not simple because getting it wrong means either punishing the good or rewarding bad. So unless the person’s decision, choice or life is harming you, instead of turning up your nose at her or him, let’s learn to say, it’s all good.  That is truly how we weigh good against the bad.

 “All that we are is the result of what we have thought.  If man speaks or acts with a evil thought, pain follows him  If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him.” ~ Budda

“Character is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking.  There are too many people who think that the only thing that’s right is to get by, and the only thing that’s wrong is to get caught.”  ~J.C. Watts

 “Character is much easier kept than recovered.”  ~Thomas Paine

“Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world.”  ~George Bernard Shaw

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