Do our Screw-ups Define Us?

"Our sins are more easily remembered than our good deeds." ~Democritus

I saw that quote and I thought, "Yes, I do have people who will always remember me for something I screwed up." I mean, obviously it depends on how bad that thing was. Some people get fired for something and of course their boss will remember what they did wrong. If you go to jail for something you did, you will most likely be known for that. A champion boxer will be remembered for spousal abuse over the several titles he held. I understand all of that. I don’t mean to cite such extreme cases…this is me speaking more generally.

But I am reminded of what James Hetfield had said when he was performing to the inmates at San Quentin. It was something about being born with the same size souls and being born good. I think James did a great job at that prison of showing respect. He wasn’t there to rub anything in anyone’s face. He didn’t have them all released into society, but he did show respect.

If Democritus’ quote rings true, then I would think it would stand to reason that a person who is capable of performing good deeds does have a good soul. Now if the person is just absolutely rotten to the core, then maybe the good deeds are part of a bigger scam…but then, they wouldn’t care if they were remembered at all, right? Of course some people start off pretty good and then fall off the turnip truck along the way…I doubt they care how they are viewed either.

For those of us who would rather have the good part of us define our character, I think it’s a good starting place to look at what we remember or acknowledge in others. Is there someone in our life who has had the bad parts overshadow the good? For instance, in a marriage; could we look past the smaller idiosyncrasies and quirky behavior to see the person we fell in love with? Are we storing these faults in the fronts of our minds instead of the back and if the faults don’t further jeopardize our future, could we shove them out of heads altogether?

It’s painful when someone defines us by our screw-ups but if we hate it so much, could we start by looking past theirs? I don’t think this means we have to stay married to someone abusive or keep an employee who steals money, but I think we can begin to detach the human from their actions.
In my own experience, when I have reminded someone about the good they have done and ultimately the good person they are, the encouragement in many cases have caused them to be more like the person they want to be or know they are.

I think the goal is to strive be the person we want to be and the person we know we can be based on our own personality with the hope of getting farther away from what we screwed up. Nobody is perfect and I think it’s more crucial now than ever to encourage everyone towards their right to happiness.

Much love on ya!
Karen :)

(quote is at the top of the blog) ;)

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