So what kind of person are you? Better yet, what kind would you like to be? Are you a good soul? When was the last time you helped an old lady cross the street, offered your seat to someone on the train, or gave more charity than you wanted to? You know that generosity is what keeps the things you own from owning you. Think about it. Being “good” means different things to different people. But we humans do have some things in common. We tend to seek pleasure and avoid pain at all costs. And we all truly have a need for love – whether we admit it or not. I bet you don’t know anyone who wants to be known as a “bad” person.

Let me fill y’all in on one secret. Trying to be good doesn’t always feel good. We all know right from wrong. Wrong is the fun one. Uh, oh. Can you really consider yourself a good person if you keep doing bad things? Speaking of which, don’t you wish some people could actually see their personality when they look in the mirror?

Are you honest, loyal, and empathetic? Let’s be real. Most of us are selfish by nature and ultimately do what’s best for ourselves. It’s okay. We are programmed to be focused primarily on our survival. What is good for you, however, may not be best for those around you. So how the heck do you live in harmony with others?

You tried to be honest with her and she got mad at you. You were kind, and got completely taken advantage of. You insisted on doing the right thing even if it meant standing out in the crowd. Now you lost all the popularity contests for sure. Hey, Barbie is super popular, but you still have to buy all of her friends. Sheesh. The truth is that when you behave morally, you respect yourself; and that, my friends, is infinitely more important than getting “them” all to like you. They say people are like Oreos: The good stuff is on the inside.

Whether you believe in divine justice or not, trust me: There are consequences to every one of your actions on this planet. Then again, if there were no bad people, there would be no good lawyers. For starters, take into consideration how your actions affect your loved ones and even strangers. My favorite thing is to surprise people with acts of kindliness. How much does it cost you to bring over cookies for no reason, or to leave a sweet note in his lunch box? By the way, you know what goes great with cookies? Cookies. Heh.

Ponder this, if you want to reform and raise your kindness game: Do you get excited when other people triumph? Truly? Do you compliment people when they do? Stop giving jealously, anger, and hatred power in your life. Perhaps you let life get in the way all the time – and are just too dang busy to call the ones who are waiting to hear your voice, or to grab a cup of coffee with that lonely friend.

Old-fashioned manners and respect have not gone out of style, believe it or not. And saying “You’re welcome” really loudly –
when people don’t thank you – doesn’t count. Remember, you do not have to like someone to be kind to them. Sometimes the test of good manners is putting up with others’ bad manners pleasantly. You may be the one who actually stays and helps clean up after the party when no one is watching. I hope you are. You know that amazing feeling when you go to bed knowing that your entire house is clean? Yeah, neither do I. Lol.

Of course, even when we act well, it could be so that others notice and give us accolades; or it might be sincere altruism, seeking no external reward. Guess you need an honor code and lie detector for yourself on that one. One too many selfies at the homeless shelter – how inflated is that ego anyway?

As difficult as it is, try to become better, not bitter when bad things happen. And please do not take things for granted. Negative people need drama like oxygen. Stay positive. It will take their breath away.

Remember, sweet friends: Giving is not just about making a donation. It’s about making a difference. Some say: “Service is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.” What say you?

Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens.  She works with individuals, couples, and families.  Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends.  She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at