Broody, grey skies have caught me thinking a lot about what my idea of a good person is, and have been aghast to see how my own goal posts move — widening and narrowing depending on who I am thinking about. Some initial self-judgement later, pondering over my own experiments with getting “better” I realised that this idea of a good person doesn’t constitute a fixed set of things that I can tick off on a list. Yes, there may be a few non-negotiables, but they’re few. For the most part I’ve witnessed that I look for goodness, in myself and in people around me, as an enduring practice. And the goal posts do shift. Depending on changing beliefs, changing notions of what is acceptable and what is not. First off, it has meant making room to change my mind, to alter my beliefs, even if it sometimes feels like I am letting myself down. Then, a constant, and here’s where I slip an awful lot, attempt at honesty with myself in facing imperfections and choosing to either embrace the ones I can or alter the ones I need to.
I have sometimes wondered if this business of self-maintenance will ever get easy or end. Every time that I think I have made progress and I find I’ve slipped or some new development has presented itself, putting me right back to work again, I wonder how much longer it will be before my internal-facing mirrors will be completely clear. And that’s when I realised, it’s perhaps never? This is and always will be an ongoing side-plot in my life. The life that is always running in my mind, parallel to the one I live in my body, going about the motions of existence. It requires practice and constant focus and indulgence, much like anything else I try and do well — cooking, writing, working out, I suppose.
This has meant an immense relaxation in the expectations I have f people, and how much I judge (I’m working on toning this down too, all the time, every day.) them. And so, similarly, the “good people” they come and go. They seem great sometimes, not so great at others. I’ve realised looking for goodness used to be about finding perfection, and now it’s about looking for those who share the light to keep on trying, and to keep getting better. The ones I hold close are those who share my love for this constant striving for examining and looking within. For every time that we’ve slipped, we remember to get back up and be better. The goodness then, is in the trying, I think. It’s in the pursuit, rather than the outcome.
Two years ago: Day 327: Regular programming