The Trouble with Being “Good”

On 1 April 2015 by Jessica Jones

Editor’s note: This is the 6th installment of a weekly 13-part series. If you would like to join Jessica on her journey, we suggest getting hold of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity or checking out Cameron’s online video courseBest of luck!

Author’s Note: “Great Creator” and “God” are terms that are used throughout The Artist’s Way and are shorthand that the author feels comfortable with. Feel free, however, to substitute these words with the thought “good orderly direction,” “flow” or whatever term suits your individual beliefs. To paraphrase Julia Cameron, “It’s the practice that matters, not the theory.”


Photo by Alisa Damaso

Photo by Alisa Damaso

What’s keeping you blocked? Is it the belief that there is a limit to your potential? Is it a lingering fear of disappointing others—or disappointing yourself?

The hindrance to a lot of people’s progress is the notion that there is limited supply. We grasp tightly to what little we have and gaze longingly at those who appear to have much. We desperately plug into their resources, thereby draining them of their energy. The reality is, there is one source and we ALL have access to draw unlimited reserves from it.

There is enough to go around. I believe that if we each truly grasped that one concept, then jealousy, strife, and envy would cease. Worry, fear and self-doubt would be wiped away and we would each be living in increased harmony with each other, in the fullness of our potential. Those who have little would realize that they can have plenty without using others. Those who have plenty would no longer be made to feel guilty for what they have.

I recently witnessed an acquaintance of mine absolutely reach his breaking point in allowing others to plug into his resources. He posted an announcement on social media platforms that was the guttural cry of someone who, in an effort to please others, failed to properly set boundaries and finally exploded in order to gain back control of his own life. Somewhere along the way, people thought that because he was generous in his kindness, he was a supply source that they could tap into at any time. “You’re not entitled to shit!” he wrote. And he’s right.

We’re not entitled to draw on the resources of other people, but we can draw on the resources available to us through the Creator, and those resources are immeasurable and available freely to all. As Julia Cameron writes in Chapter 5 of The Artist’s Way, “God as my source is a simple but completely effective plan for living.” Believe in yourself and your unlimited creative potential.

I’ve always slightly recoiled when someone tells me, “You’re a good person,” because to me that means that they’ve elevated me to a certain status in their mind that resides somewhere above other people. I strive to be kind, generous, and generally decent to people, but the problem with being “good” is that it suggests a certain sense of superiority. We think that we earn another invisible gold star each time we sacrifice our own needs for the needs of others.

I don’t want to be “good.” I want to be myself: good, bad, and ugly. I want to be accepted as a whole person, not a “good” person.

I want to LIVE. But living means taking leaps of faith doesn’t it? It means trusting that goodness will find me; I don’t have to earn it. Living means knowing that I may disappoint people. It means that I will say “yes” to Jessica and “no” to everyone else if I have to. In that respect, I will be selfish. And I am scared to be selfish, because just like everyone else I want to be loved. Don’t we all?

But let’s be honest: Would you rather five people – or even one person – love you for whom you are – the beautiful, messy, real you – or hundreds, thousands, millions love you for who they think you are? I’d rather the one. And so, I leap.

Ask yourself how often you’ve sacrificed your own needs for the needs of others. Is it good to give? Yes. Is it good to be helpful, kind, and generous? Yes, yes, yes! But your first and most important relationship is within, not without. Remember that as you continue to nurture your inner Child Artist.

Read the first five installments of this series:

  1. Unblocking the Inner Artist
  2. Of Monsters and Champions: Let the affirming begin!
  3. A Case of the Crazymakers
  4. The Power of Breaking Down Boxes
  5. The Flow of Letting Go

Jessica Jones

Jessica Jones is a California native. Her interest in expressive storytelling and quirky characters led to academic and professional pursuits of writing and acting. By day, she’s a public relations and social media consultant. In her spare time she rescues cats, writes her sitcom and films beauty tutorials.


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