I see this meme all the time. I see it on facebook, I see it on twitter. This image I found over on pinterest. But, seriously, I have probably seen this a thousand and one times over the past several months.
I am quite sure that I have shared it at some point. You probably have as well. Seeing this phrase may have even made you chuckle a little and think 'yeah, that's me!' but did you stop and think about why? Are you really a mean person?
I consider myself a mean person and there are several people who know me will tell you outright that I am not mean at all. However, these people don't see the inner me, they see the public me. They don't know who I am inside my head. So when I say "I'm not really nice." I actually do mean it.
The number of times I have had people try to contradict me on this statement astounds me. They do it because I have done something nice or without arguing. I covered their ass. I did an assignment for them. I helped them out with a project. That's why they think I am a nice person. What they don't know is that I complain inside my head (and on twitter) about things that would probably make them blush, or make them outright angry.
Let me introduce you to a saga by Jacqueline Carey called Kushiel's Legacy. In the second set of books she officially introduces you to Imriel in depth. This is after he's been rescued from a nightmare of being abused and tortured in the previous book. His goal is very simple. All you have to do is pick up Kushiel's Scion and read the back. It states "I will try to be good." That is his goal in life. It isn't wanting to be good. It isn't even being good. He says I will TRY. He will make an effort to be good.
That is how I feel. I try to be good. Good to myself, good to others.
I try to make good decisions. I try not to let the way other people treat me affect who I am, but that's a crock, right? Everyone everywhere is affected by something someone else has done or said. If they weren't, then we would be a bunch of emotionless automatons. I feel, therefore I exist. I have emotions, therefore I feel. I am broken, because I have been hurt.
We have such a great capacity to hurt others. There doesn't even have to be any form of actual gain to the person doing the hurting. Have I hurt people? Yes. I have hurt people. Did I do so intentionally? Sometimes, yes I damn well did. Do I feel bad about hurting someone intentionally? See, there's the rub. Not always. I have reasons for the things I do and yes, I know it's not right to hurt others, but then there's that lovely phrase "I will try to be good." and that is what I do. I try, and try again.
We have so many chances to try to be good. To make good choices. Unfortunately, when it comes to making good choices, it isn't always clear cut whether or not the choice you make will actually turn out to be a good choice. It could be an instant knowledge that "Yes! That was an excellent choice." and then there are the "Oh, holy crap, what the fuck just went sideways and WHY?"
I will always try to be good, but like any human, I am an imperfect being and there are times where I fail utterly to be good. Let's take something I learned from a little movie called Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure: Be Excellent To Each Other. If you can't do that, then try to be good.