Don't Just Do Good, Be Good
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Health and Wellness

Don't Just Do Good, Be Good

You can do a million good things, but it's more important to be a good person.

Don't Just Do Good, Be Good

Many of us are in college to improve our life chances. We want to have more opportunities, better environments, and greater achievements. We volunteer within community and college organizations to help build our resume, maybe even donate money. We go to church and call our parents every few days, we do so many things for others we often forget to slow down and look at why we’re doing these things.

But are these the defining qualities of a good person: straight A’s, involvement, and volunteerism? At the end of the day, what do any of those good deeds mean if we can’t be good people?

There are so many bad things that go on in this world. People die, get laid off, get diagnosed with illnesses, and they lie to one another chronically. Everyone struggles every single day with things that none of us know about. So what does this have to do with being a good person?


Sometimes we make comments in passing - a lot of times with defining terms like “gay”, “retarded,” “fat,” “ugly,” etc. Sometimes people say things just to demean other people. We talk over people, constantly turn the conversation back to ourselves and our own lives. We’re more interested in why someone is struggling than the things they have accomplished.

It’s easy to laugh at someone else when they embarrass themselves or when they fail. It’s easy to make fun of someone because of their size or appearance. It’s easy to bring up someone’s past decisions that they may regret. It takes only one tweet, one post, one text message of something (meant to be funny) to hurt another person. Those photos you take of people without their permission and post to twitter with a “funny” caption; who are those posts for? Certainly not for the person you’re making fun of.

Good things are easy to do. They don’t require much out of you, and they certainly don’t require you to be a good person. But being a good person? That’s the hardest thing to do. Sometimes it’s the hardest thing in the world - because people test you. Every day you have people in your life influencing how you act and react with others. I don’t know if you know this or not, but you are an average of the five people in your life who you spend the most time with. What kind of person do you want to be?

We all have mean thoughts occasionally; it’s how we were socialized by our families, friends, and the media. But we all have a choice when it comes to what thoughts we voice. Some things are unnecessary to say and they benefit nobody. If you’re only going to talk about someone to point out their flaws then there’s no reason to say what you’re thinking. It takes effort and diligence to be a good person, but it’s not the initial thought that makes you good or bad. It’s what you decide to do with that thought.

A wise author once wrote, “We must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy” (Thanks, J.K. Rowling). It’s a good rule of thumb that the harder choices are the right ones. The things that challenge our thoughts, opinions, and beliefs; the things that challenge who we are and force us to face ourselves and encourage us to grow - those are the decisions we should make. Those are the people we should be. It’s important to do good things, but it’s far more important to be a good person.

This world can be such a harsh and unforgiving place. But that doesn’t mean we have to be harsh and unforgiving people.
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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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