I’m Not a Good Person; Neither Are You

Keri Smith of Deprogrammed
4 min readJul 28, 2017

I don’t think there are good or bad people, just people who are capable of both. I have been stating this a lot recently; I guess because until coming to this conclusion I never noticed how often I hear folks labeled as one or the other. In conversation, when someone is disagreeing with me, they will sometimes couch it with, “I know you’re a good person, but...” Hearing such a thing now makes me laugh. I’m not a good person! Neither are you. We’re not bad people either, mind you. To state something like that, something you can’t possibly know — seems rather careless to me now, not well thought-out.

One context in which I hear this “Bad Person” description come up a lot is obviously in politics. Trump is often described as bad, evil, “literally Hitler.” I can’t take such critique seriously anymore. For one thing, it’s an absolute judgement on a person’s soul, on their being — instead of on their individual actions. Unless you are omniscient, I don’t see how you can claim to know such a thing.

I also think it functions on a subconscious level to make one feel like a “good” person when they label others as “bad” or “evil.” It pushes the other further from you; it pushes down the sneaking fear that perhaps you could be capable of something similarly bad. And it reduces everyone to an either/or — to the extremes based on how you perceive their behavior at the time. In psychology, they call this “splitting.”

In personal relationships, when someone has wronged you, casting them as a “bad” person in…