One of the memes the Internet can’t seem to shake are these Me vs. Inner Me Kermit the Frog ones.( Side note: Like most memes, I don’t even understand why exactly they’re funny or what Kermit has anything to fucking do with it, but hey it’s the Internet so let’s just roll with it). Despite being hilariously genius (duh) , I think these memes might actually be telling of one of the most blatant truths out there : We all have a dark side, whether we like it or not.
Now sure, this isn’t something new- we’ve all heard it before; that little angel and devil lurking over our shoulders, fighting for two different sides of the same war we call life ( damn, that was deep even for me). Now, whether it be because of the ways society has conditioned us , or because of some moral compass within us all, I’d like to say that for the most part we keep our dark sides under control. But let’s face it, the reason why these memes are so popular is because they’re so damn true. We might not ACTUALLY steal someone’s cute puppy that we see on the street , but 9 times out of 10 we want to , right ?
And that got me thinking ; we’re more alike than we seem to think. In life, everything we’ve ever been taught has been in terms of black and white- right or wrong. And they want us to believe the same rules apply to people. There are good people and there are bad people. Heroes and villains. But if 2016 has taught me anything, it’s that this simply is not true.
We want to believe that we have absolutely nothing in common with let’s say , a serial killer. In our eyes, they aren’t even human. They are the “other” ; the one’s whom we could never become. But in reality, they’re people just like the rest of us. It might make us feel better to think that they are wired much differently, but this just isn’t the case. They fight the same battles we do, yet ,for probably many complex reasons, have drifted towards a path of utter evil. And what we try so hard to forget, is that it very well could be us falling down the same dark roads.
But instead of focusing on the negatives here ( don’t worry , hopefully you won’t become a mass murderer any time soon), let’s think of this the other way around. Sure, Kermit the Frog has taught us that we all have a dark side, but what about our good side?
Call me a hopeless optimist all you want, but I have lived my entire life believing that there is good in every single person. I know, there is probably tons and tons of historical evidence proving me wrong on this one, because how could someone who intentionally goes out of their way to cause harm to others be good?
To quote something from my all time favourite superhero ( and to publicly expose my inner geek), as Professor Charles Xavier once said , ” There’s so much more to you than you know, not just pain and anger. There’s good in you too, and you can harness all that.”
Maybe I’m wrong, or maybe it’s just the psych student within me talking, but I really don’t think that people are inherently “evil”. I refuse to accept the fact that some people are just born that way. What’s more likely, is the fact that the goodness inside sometimes gets lost in the process of life. Life is hard. It sucks sometimes ( scratch that, most of the time). Shitty things happen to “good” people and great things happen to “bad” people. But, the quicker we realize that good and bad are really just one in the same, the quicker we can start to understand why people are the way they are.
That being said, this is where this post gets a little less rainbows and sunshine. Since I like to believe that there is good in us all, my entire life has been dedicated to pulling that goodness out of every single person I meet. There’s something exhilarating about trying to inspire or challenge someone to be a better person, or to be the best version of themselves possible. But with that mentality comes my tragic flaw; I think that I can fix people at whatever the cost. That it’s somehow my purpose on this earth to withstand the wrath of a person’s dark side, all in mere hopes of helping them realize the good that lies within them. But, don’t worry-2016 made damn fucking sure that I realized living this way only leads to more harm then good, which leads me to hands down the biggest and most important lesson I have learned this year:
LESSON #6: EVERY SINGLE PERSON HAS A BIT OF GOOD IN THEM, BUT IT IS NOT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO DIG THAT OUT OF THEM.
To be honest, this one truly hurts me. When someone that you care about is going down a wrong path, you’re going to stop at nothing to make sure you help them see the light at the end of the tunnel, even if that means getting hurt along the way. When someone who you thought cared about you all of a sudden hurts you in a way you never would have imagined, you’re going to want to turn a blind eye. In our minds, the pain is always worth it. We think that the suffering this person is causing is not really them. They are good people. They love us. And we love them. And odds are, we’re right. But where do we draw the line between bending over backwards to better someone else and worsening OURSELVES in the long run?
When trying to find the good in others comes at the expense of your own well-being or even safety, it simply isn’t the right thing to do. This doesn’t mean that you have to give up hope for this person. It justmeans that you finally relieve yourself of the burden of carrying the weight of their humanity on your shoulders. It’s okay to put yourself as a priority sometimes. It doesn’t make you selfish or weak- it makes you stronger. Knowing which battles are worth fighting for, and those that are not, will only help you accept your own worth and realize what your actual purpose truly is.