Am I a bad person?

Being a good or bad person is subjective and relative. Good and bad are constructs.

Our world views, belief systems and values influence how we view ourselves and others. We live in a binary world which judges our behaviour using the good and bad value system. The reward and punishment of our behaviour also uses the good versus bad dichotomy to reward good behaviour and punish bad behaviour. This approach makes us feel anxious about our perceived bad behaviour because we believe that we will be punished.

If you are asking yourself whether or not you are a bad person, the answer is yes, but you are also good. Human beings are flawed and not perfect. We encompass both good and bad qualities and because these are both constructs, you could be viewed as a good person in one context but viewed as bad in another. No matter how good we think we are, we will always hurt others and be hurt by others. That does not mean people who hurt us are bad people, nor does it mean that we are a bad people because we hurt others. This is human error.

You are only a bad person if you refuse to learn from your own mistakes and making them a habit. Think of a serial killer or rapist for example; their behaviour follows a repetitive routine, meaning that they keep repeating the same bad behaviour over and over again. This failure to stop hurting others shows a lack of remorse for their behaviour. If you do acknowledge that yes, indeed others were hurt by your bad behaviour and you learn from the experience, you are a normal human being who is only trying to find their way just like everyone else.

Don’t be too hard on yourself by beating yourself up because you’ve made a mistake and your behaviour has hurt others. Your efforts to analyse your behaviour and judge if it’s good or bad, shows that you are actively looking to solve your problem and learn from it.