I used to worry a lot about being good.
As a kid, I obsessed about it. I wanted to be a ‘good girl.’ Perfect. Smart. Right. Beautiful. I wanted desperately to fit in.
I’m not sure why, now. It was certainly not a happy place, obsessing about how others viewed me.
And I certainly was never going to fit in, no matter how hard I tried. (Square peg, round hole.)
But I wanted it. Oh, how I wanted it.
Luckily, that desperate desire to blend in (wallflower), to make no waves, to dress right, and appear just so, left me by the time I was 30.
“Be—don’t try to become.” ~ Osho
By then, I wanted to feel good. I wanted to do good in the world. I wanted to make a difference.
My attitude shifted from one that focused on the way things appeared—even if nothing about that appearance remotely reflected my inner life—to one that turned inward for answers. I realized that to change the world, I needed to fundamentally change myself at the root of the root of the root, first.
There’s so much goodness in the world.
“Are you doing life or are you living?” ~ Dale Forehand
So, my focus shifted.
I looked for the good in others. I made good causes and found good friends.
I accepted my messiness, my flaws, my feet of clay.
I came to the realization that even if I was fat, imperfect, and uncertain, that was plenty.
I was good enough to be here.
Living a good life replaced the desire to be seen, recognized, lauded as a ‘good example.’ Good intentions mattered as much as good results. I became gentle with myself — and as I did so — I started to see others with more tenderness and less judgment.
“I have seen the best of you, and the worst of you, and I choose both.” ~ Sarah Kay
Wake up determined to find something good, something worth celebrating.
Even on a dark day, something good happened. Hundreds of babies were born, starting their journey through life. Seeds were planted, books finished, meals eaten with relish and joy. Children learned to read or walk or say their first words.
There are small graces inherent in every single day: birdsong, fresh cut rosemary and lemons, a pot of soup bubbling on the stove.
Look for them. Look for the tiny ways that goodness permeates your life.
Look for ways you can pay it forward.