Am I a Bad Person?

One of the many perils of being a blogger is that programs like WordPress tell you terrible things like how many people read your stuff and how they found you.

So you write stuff and you think it’s good and like your mom and a handful of folks read it and you’re like, well, fuck… Then you write stuff that you think is crap and it blows up. You get your first post that maybe a few thousand people read. You catch yourself feeling like a rock star until you read a brilliant blogger piece on Huffingtonpost and notice that it has 1.3 million Facebook likes…

So if you’re smart you’ll just stay true to yourself and write what you write and write it for you and if people like it that’s cool.

Okay, Focus. It’s 5am and I woke up with my ADD in overdrive and my heart full to bursting.

WordPress tells me the search terms that people enter into Google and other search engines that result in them reading my stuff. This both intrigues and disturbs me. I wrote a blog a while back, “How am I supposed to be myself when I don’t know who I am?”

And people find it because they enter, “I don’t know who I am” into Google.

Well, um, ok…I mean, shit…I guess if you don’t have anyone else to ask, that’s what you do? I get asked that question a lot in therapy and Google is a lot cheaper than I am…

In terms of who you are, I default to George Bernard Shaw. “Life is not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” In other words, your identity is not a fucking mystery to be unraveled – it’s a choice to be made. Furthermore – stop approaching yourself like you’re a problem to be solved – you’re a person to be loved.

Here’s another question I get asked a lot – “Am I a bad person?”

Weird thing about that – I’ve never been asked that by someone who actually is.

Piers Anthony once wrote of a mythological creature unique from all others who asked, “Do I have a soul?” The wizard’s response was perfect. Essentially, he replied that only a being who possessed a soul would be concerned about whether or not they had one.

Only a fundamentally good person would be concerned about whether they’re bad.

There are bad people in the world. Most of them are sociopaths (not a rarity in today’s world), psychopaths, pedophiles or people who otherwise enjoy exploiting and abusing. That’s just one man’s opinion of course, but what saddens me is that so many of us (survivors, recovering addicts, the bullied and other misfits) were simply taught that we were bad from day one.
Shame fucking cripples misfits like me. It leaves us hiding our true selves and unwittingly pushing kindred spirits away.

If you grow up in unhealthy places with unhealthy people you learn things about yourself that are not true. The child who is too young to understand what self esteem is nonetheless has it.

We learned that we are not enough/not good enough. It just wasn’t ever true. There’s no such thing as a bad kid. Period.

I know a lot of folks who have done bad things. I just don’t believe that makes them a bad person. They’re good people who have done bad things. (Who of us hasn’t?).

I don’t judge by your past. I look at who and what you’re trying to be today.

Imagine being defined by the worst thing you ever did. Imagine being defined by what was done to you.

Who I am is for me and my Higher Power to define. I needed/need to be open to the input of good people. My chosen family taught me the truth about me. Deep down I kinda always knew it…I just didn’t know how to feel it or believe it. Affirmation, validation, and really great hugs help.

Too many of us are seeking redemption and there’s just no perspective in it. How much good does it take to outweigh the bad? Do we have a set of scales for this?

We minimize the good we do and exaggerate the harm we do.

We deflect compliments and explain away praise (“They’re just being nice.”) We’re good at getting people to appreciate us for what we do What we most want is to be appreciated for who we are.

I preach fairness. Take a long look at what you judge yourself for. Now, ask yourself, “Do I judge other people for these things?”

Jim LaPierre

About Jim LaPierre

Jim LaPierre LCSW CCS is the Executive Director of Higher Ground Services in Brewer, Maine. He is a Recovery Ally, mental health therapist and addictions counselor. He specializes in facilitating recovery (whether from addiction, trauma, depression, anxiety, or past abuse) overcome obstacles, and improve their quality of life. Jim offers a limited amount of online therapy to those with very flexible schedules.