Selfishly Moral

— Cracking self confidence

Looking fine on the outside...some thoughts on Easter

For most of my life, being good was an activity that always came at a cost.

I remember a professor coming in frustrated to class. "No good deed goes unpunished!" He was upset after helping someone out. He said it in a way that confirmed 'nice guys finish last.'

I believed it. But now I see that when I did something good, I expected good payoffs immediately. With high expectations, I was disappointed. People were not as thankful, if they even were, and this was my 'punishment' for good acts.

Part of my worldview at the time was that people were doing good deeds only to be rewarded by others. I never thought doing what's right would have benefits of its own.

Maybe I grew up with too many Erin Brockovich-like stories, where corporations were successful because they cheated. Erin Brockovich, the good one, was an anomaly--hence the Hollywood movie. For most, good deeds set a person back. The only way to get ahead is at the expense of everyone else.

Recently, I found myself believing the opposite. It's not a zero sum game. Even stranger, I've found myself driven by complete selfishness in doing what's right.

Onetime I went to Barcelona and my parents were worried. They kept advising me to watch out and keep an eye on my stuff. It became incredibly annoying.

When I got my stuff stolen, the one thing I feared was hearing my parents say 'I told you to be careful.'

So I lied and told them the guys who stole threatened me with a knife.

This might not have to do with doing a good deed for others, but it's in line with following a moral compass--telling the truth, being unafraid to do what's right.

I don't think it was wise to scare my parents like that but hearing the words 'I told you so' would've broken my false sense of confidence. I was unable to accept reality, that I was careless and irresponsible. Not admitting my mistake, by not willing to pay all the consequences--I was the exact definition of not being responsible.

If I had the courage to tell the truth and face my fear of 'I told you so', I would've acquired actual confidence. Or had a base to build my confidence from. I couldn't have continued propping up my false confidence.

I didn't have the courage. 'Oh my parent's don't have proof that I'm not responsible, so technically I am.'

I knew the truth. I went to the basement in terms of the confidence I had in myself.

Now I believe it's more costly to not follow my moral compass. A breakdown in self-confidence weakens a person like nothing else.

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