Your Parents Lied to You - Good and Bad Don't Exist

Updated: Dec 3, 2020

"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." - Shaekspere

If your childhood was anything like mine, you were told that you should act like a good little girl or a good little boy, especially around this time of year, when Santa was ramping up his Christmas preparations.


If so, then you inevitably took this simplified framing of all your actions around what is considered to be "good" or "bad" into adulthood, berating yourself for every "bad" action in the same ways that your parents and teachers berated you. The problem is, this understanding of the world is too simple and it is damaging to our adult psyches, causing us undue stress.


The reason for this is simple:

There is no good or bad! They don't exist.

I know what you're thinking, but hear me out. Let's go over some extreme examples:


Good:

Water is necessary to life, but did you know that you can actually die from drinking too much water? Hyponatremia is a condition where the kidneys are inundated with so much water that they cannot process it fast enough, causing sodium levels in the blood stream to be perilously diluted. (In 2007, Jennifer Strange of California died from this condition after drinking 6 liters of water in 3 hours during a water-drinking contest held by a local radio station).


Bad:

Murder is against the law, but sometimes it is seen as a necessary evil and even hailed as heroic. One case in point, if someone murdered a terrorist, that murder would be considered good because it saved the lives of countless other innocent people.


Do these examples suddenly make water bad and murder good? No. We still need water to live and shouldn't shun it away. And the murder of a person, whoever that person is, will have a negative effect on someone else's life and should be avoided at all costs. However, I want you to realize that neither of these things can be qualified definitively as good or bad. Water is just water and murder is just murder. And this concept goes for everything in life.


A few years ago, I came to this realization and have made it my mission to eradicate this idea from our minds. The idea arrived when I witnessed a family member come home from a hard day of work hungry, exhausted and stressed to the max. She inevitably reached for the sugar cookies that were sitting on the counter and after she took her first bite she said (half to me and half to herself), "I know, bad girl." Seeing this broke my heart. She wasn't being bad by seeking a bit of comfort in something sweet when she so desperately needed it. And she certainly wasn't bad for eating a freakin' cookie! She was just a human who saw a cookie and instinctively grabbed it because her body sent signals that she needed it in that moment.


I want you to know that you as a person are neither good nor bad. The actions you take are also neither good nor bad. Most importantly, the action of eating food, any food, should never be qualified as good or bad. You are just you, those actions are just actions and the food you eat is just food which is providing energy and nourishment to your body in different ways.


So, how do we get past this childhood conditioning?


  1. Start looking at all of the aspects of your life through a non-judgmental lens. Notice what your body, mind or soul is asking for and acknowledge it without qualifying it.

  2. Ask yourself, "Why am I craving... (a cookie, a nap, physical touch of another, etc.)? Is this really what I am craving or do I actually need something else?"

  3. If what you're craving is something that isn't harmful to yourself or others, then allow yourself to have it, judgement-free. If it is something harmful, try to think of other ways to fulfill that need.

  4. Regardless of the action that you take or don't take, accept and love yourself no matter what, because (generally) the stress you feel for doing what you thought was "bad" will do more harm to you than just doing it and being content with your actions.


By following these steps, you can start taking away a lot of the conditioned stress and allow yourself to be a lot freer to listen and give your body what it really needs.


Interested in hearing more? Book a health history with me and let's chat about how to kick the habit of "good" and "bad".



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