Friday, January 10, 2014

I Know That I Am Not a Good Person

Yes, four days into starting this blog, I've already failed at meeting my goal of blogging at least once a day. But that isn't the reason for the title of this post. It's simply a fact of my life that I am not naturally a good person. I suppose if I'd chosen a different major in college I could refer to specific philosophers right now but it seems trite to fall back on high school history so I'll leave such Enlightenment luminaries as Hobbes and Locke in peace.

I've always considered myself self-aware and for a very long time I've known that I am not a good person. Now by that I do not mean to suggest that I am some kind of horrible monster. As to my day-to-day impact on the world, I probably exert more of a neutral force than anything overly positive or negative. But though I try and conceal it in my interactions with others, I don't consider myself to be a good person.

I'm not an expert, but I'm fairly sure that I'm not a sociopath. Sociopaths probably don't cry at Disney movies. Though I'm only guessing at that as, to my knowledge, I've never met a sociopath, unless of course I am one. However, I do find myself quite selfish and self-involved and while I can allow myself to care about others, it doesn't really come naturally to me. I have to actively try to be engaged in a lot of (but not all) conversations and there's no one in my life that I care very deeply for (this includes familial relationships, friendships, and romantic relationships). I do cry at the drop of a hat though, so perhaps in my inability to conceive of widespread human suffering I have simply developed very strong defense mechanisms and a strong sense of apathy.

There are of course other ways for me to rationalize or excuse or explain these tendencies. I am an only child and I have not spent that much time forming relationships with people. I have always lived in a two-parent household and I've gone to school and interacted with people on a regular basis but that doesn't mean I've formed particularly strong bonds. Most of my family does not live near us so I've never had that sense of a large, warm, and loving family though I do have plenty of extended family. And as I've rarely interacted with people my own age outside of school or school activities I've always seen my peers as more acquaintances than friends. It sounds cold and perhaps a little self-pitying to think of things this way but I prefer to think of it as an objective view on the subject. I do occasionally feel lonely but in general I don't lament my lack of close relationships with people. It is a bit of a concern though.

Now I'm not exactly complacent about my self-diagnosis. Just because I don't think I'm naturally a good person it doesn't mean that I do not try to be a better person. I am trying to cultivate more of a charitable, altruistic spirit. I police my thoughts constantly in an attempt to be less hateful, judgmental, and negative. And I am trying to build stronger relationships with the people in my life. But I am hyper aware of all of my flaws. I have a tendency to try and take advantage of people if I can and although I police my thoughts, the rate of negative thoughts probably hasn't decreased that much. Still, I am trying.

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