Nice Isn’t The Same As Good

I am wondering, of late, how well I know myself. I think things. I feel things. I believe that I know what those things say about me to me. I have some creeping doubts, however. I’ve begun to wonder whether I am the way I think I am or whether I just believe I am the way I wish I was…in spite of me. How does one really know? This line of thinking starts to make me feel very vulnerable and  in a dreamlike way. Am I awake and really feeling this, or am I just drowning through layers of doubt, self-analysis, and uncertainty.  These lead me to ask something about myself.

Does intent erase effect? Assuming your intention is not to hurt someone, does it absolve you of responsibility if that is what you’ve just done? For the most part I genuinely do NOT like seeing people hurt nor do I wish to cause them pain. (Animal cruelty is just one thing that will QUICKLY set me off.) But that hasn’t prevented it from happening, and I know my weaknesses some time move me to do things that can harm and cause pain. I know, and I’ve heard that apology come out of my lips.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for this to happen. I didn’t mean to hurt you.” Sounds pretty hollow right about now.

I’ve said more than a few times that I am a nice fucking guy. I truly believe I am. I’ve come to the cold water in the face realization, however, that I don’t think I’ve ever said I was a good guy. I wonder, now, if I am not a good guy. I am not writing this to get others to tell me if I am or not. I more worried that I don’t see it if it is in me.  Sure I’ve done good things. But there’s no ledger floating debits and credits for this. I think one just is or isn’t. I know I have a selfish streak. I’m not saying it proudly or wearing it as a badge of honor, but it is a part of me. I worry, though, that it may be more prevailing than I’ve believed. I am concerned that it clouds my mind in such a way that I fooled myself into believing I was good, when actually I was only being nice. I worry that my personal solar system has a VERY shallow orbit. Self-absorption goes hand in hand with degrees of selfishness, doesn’t it.

Does this questioning mean anything? Does it show that I am anything above that because I ask? Does being able to question the depth of my selfishness show anything redeeming? Argh!!! The whirlpool of questions are making me dizzy and pulling at me in such a way that clarity of thought turns in clouded thinking.

I wonder if I should just give new people I meet a card with the following quote from a song of the musical Into the Woods (by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine):

And take extra care with strangers,
Even flowers have their dangers.
And though scary is exciting,
Nice is different than good.


  1. I think this speaks to the idea that humanity is never black and white. We are sometimes good and nice and sometimes not. Intention is a whole other thing. I believe that the intention for goodness and for kindness is always a good thing, but we are complicated beings who fuck up and sometimes intention doesn’t work out the way we hope it will. As you, it is never my intention to hurt someone, but I have hurt people and I regret all the times I have and I take responsibility for doing so. It is the moving on and the forgiveness of self that i find tricky.

    Liked by 1 person

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