Is it Useful to Ask “Am I a Bad Person?”

Or is that the wrong question?

Image by Comfreak from Pixabay

What exactly is a bad person?

I have a pretty analytical mind, and I like things to be clearly defined. What exactly is a bad person? What are the attitudes/behaviours characteristic of a bad person? How do you differentiate a bad and a good person? How does one measure badness of personhood? If a term isn’t clearly defined, it means whatever whoever happens to be using it thinks it means. That makes the answer to the question entirely arbitrary.

Where’s the question coming from?

The am I a bad person question may well come from the voice of the inner critic, who is extremely poorly qualified to make that kind of evaluation. If your inner critic would tell you that you’re a bad person even if you were on track to be the present-day version of Mother Teresa, it doesn’t deserve a seat on the self-appraisal judging panel.

Does the answer make a difference?

I ask myself if I’m a bad person seldom, if ever. Part of that is a solid foundation of self-esteem. Also, the answer to that question isn’t useful in my life in any way. I am who I am, whether that be “good”, “bad”, or anywhere in between. Even if I was “bad,” so what? Does it change how I sit within myself or move through the world?

Mental health blogger | Former MH nurse | Living with depression | Author of 3 books, latest is Managing the Depression Puzzle |