Yeah, you read that right.
Being the “better person” is complete bullshit. It’s for losers. It’s propaganda that only serves those that need you to be the better person, but it doesn’t do a damn thing for you in the end. Oh sure, they’ll tell you that it will bring you joy or peace in the end, good karma and all that crap, just knowing that you were the better person.
But…they were wrong.
Why? Because all the while that you are doing the “right” things, being the “better person”, you are assisting them in their goals to get to the next better place in their life, to attain the next great thing, to enjoy the fruits of someones else’s labor (namely yours), all without the guilt of worrying about how you feel, who it hurts or what you may need or want along the way.
It’s a win-win for someone, but not you “better person”.
Being expected to be the better person is a way to keep you doing everyone else’s dirty work and bidding, taking care of everyone else’s problems and feelings, showing up to support and/or protect them through the tough times, all the while forgetting about yourself. Putting yourself last, because they need it or want it more than you.
And don’t you want to know that you helped? Doesn’t that make you feel better?
You are a walking advertisement for empathy. And the lights shine so brightly that they come from all areas of your life to take advantage of it. Your empathy is like a siren, or a warm bath, or a soothing hug. It’s your gift!
Thinking of how they feel, how it will affect them, worrying that you’re being selfish or thoughtless because you may consider yourself first once in awhile, is all part of the game that keeps you locked into this arrangement. If you try to stop, or draw a line in the sand to save your sanity and soul, you’re just being selfish. Cruel, thoughtless, mean.
It’s saying to the world, I’m not important enough for your attention or consideration, so please, please dump on me and let me make the road smooth for the rest of you. You place everyone else’s feelings before yours, while you quietly wait your turn because eventually it has to be your turn for at least once, right? They want to be there for you, don’t they?
But your turn never comes because nobody can hear you if you don’t ask.
There is no reward in the end, contrary to what people may tell you. A reward for being the better person, turning the other cheek, is supposedly feeling good about yourself. Just knowing that you did the “right thing” even if nobody else did, or was even willing to try. Even if they don’t recognize it or appreciate it. But, if you’re honest, do you always feel better about yourself in the end?
There is no heavenly place reserved for you and the other ‘better people’, filled with all of your hopes and dreams fulfilled, that you discover when you die, and definitely not before you die either. Nope. It’s just that continuous empty feeling, that keeps eating away at your heart and soul, while you stuff down your own needs and desires to serve others. But you keep smiling, because that’s what better people do.
And once you start, it never ends.
Why doesn’t it end? Because it’s like a siren in the night, calling out and attracting more people who need you to be a better person, because they are incapable of it themselves. Or maybe not even incapable, but more likely they just don’t want to waste their time and effort trying. They have other things to do and their own feelings to consider, they don’t have time to think about others, you understand don’t you?
It’s so much easier if you just do it. They will continue to go about their merry lives, still doing ignorant, thoughtless things and saying insensitive, careless, hurtful comments while ignoring how it affects you or anyone else either way. But the fact that you are willing to rise to the challenge, and take one (or two, or three or more) for the team saves everyone the disturbing task of really looking at who they are, what they say or do and how it actually affects anyone – remaining unaccountable for their actions and words. It allows them to ignore how they’re actions and words hurt you, or how unfairly they treat you.
If being the better person was such a great thing why aren’t more people doing it? And if they have to expect you to be that person what does that say about them? Shouldn’t everyone want that accolade? Obviously it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be, or there’d be a line of people helping each other each and every day. Just because.
You deserve more than that. You really do. Even if those people don’t think you do.
Go ahead and be a better person. But be the better person for yourself for once. Be that person in your corner, that cheerleader in your moment of doubt, the light at the end of your dark tunnel. Give to yourself the way you would give to others – no, it’s not one of the commandments I know, but it should be because if you can’t be good to yourself or love yourself, how are you supposed to be good to and love someone else in a fulfilling way?
Where will that love come from if you never fill your own vessel?
The next time you choose yourself over someone else, the next time you say ‘no’ to one more request for your time and energy, the day that you finally draw the line in the sand and mark your boundaries, know that you are the better person.
You are the better person for yourself. And you are worth it.
*this post was written before “Clusters”, basically a more gritty version of the feelings attached to clusters.
12 thoughts on “Being the better person is bullshit”
I agree! When dealing with a “normal/reasonable” person I don’t always think being the bigger person is best… sometimes people need to be called out on their bullshit 🙂 BUT for me, dealing with a HCBM who I truly believe is a narcissist, you can’t reason with her. So in the beginning I always wanted my husband to call her bluffs, but over time I realized she literally is incapable of sound decision making or logic. She is not phased by calling her on her shit, because she truly sees no issue with the decisions she’s making. I’m pretty sure your ex is the same way from what I’ve read. (This post may not be about him, just making the comparison!) So with reasonable people, I agree, being the bigger person while watching them meet their goals and rise to the top is seriously overrated! But with the ones who can’t make reasonable decisions, it’s can feel like a double edged sword.
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Thanks for your comment, glad to know that it’s not just me 😉 I was afraid that this would sound way too angry or spiteful, but it’s beyond frustrating to deal with the expectation to be the better person over and over again in too many areas of life, and believe it or not, this post was not about my ex! I totally get what you’re saying though about dealing with someone that you can’t truly reason with and who refuses to take any responsibility for their actions, it equates to beating your head against a wall so you just have to let it go sometimes. You’re not necessarily being the ‘better person’, just the more reasonable one, in the end.
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Definitely not just you! I am right on board!
I understand your frustration. Your post sounds like, “if you can’t beat them, join them.” For me I always feel worse when I retaliate or fight back with the same venom, there hasn’t been one time that I’ve felt better. That’s when I lived under the same roof as the abuser. Since separation, taking the high road reminds me he or they (whoever is wronging you) is not doing those things to me because of me, but because they are dealing with some serious issues. If you take the high road there is no excuse they can use against you. One less negative thing coming out of someone’s foul mouth. That to me is a win.
Honestly, I didn’t intend for this post to be interpreted as a “if you can’t beat ’em join ’em” type of post. That’s not my point at all, and I’m sorry if it came off that way for you. It’s not about retaliation, but more about boundaries and knowing when to hold set them for ourselves. There would be no reason for feelings of wanting retaliation or the need to fight back if we just drew the line in the sand and stuck to it to begin with, which is what I’m finally learning how to practice in my life. Not just romantically, but in all areas of life including family, friends, coworkers, etc. When we lack boundaries, or the power to enforce them, we lower our expectations and in a sense give permission to others to take advantage of us, which feels pretty crappy at the end of the day. Taking the high road shouldn’t come with the price of your own self worth. I’m also a big believer in taking the high road, don’t say anything if you can’t say something nice like my mom always told me, but I don’t view speaking up for myself as taking the low road either. Thanks for sharing your insights.
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Also one thing about money and success, if those things define who you are you are building your house on sand. Both are fleeting. Opinions change with the wind. Setting boundaries is critical to rising above.
This is a great post for friends and relatives of cheaters to read. I was guilty initially of being one of those “be the better person” agents while watching a loved one go through divorce. I didn’t know what to say to be effective – there are no books on Amazon for “supporting divorcing friends.” Your blog and others like it have served that purpose for me to be an effective friend and not just an observer offering platitudes to avoid deeper conversations and sometimes – confrontations. Who knows – maybe you’ll write that book. You have a head start with much material.
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I like your idea of a book for supporting divorcing friends, and family for that matter. Surprisingly, our families can be the most difficult to express real feelings of loss; of hope, identity, etc. They just don’t want to see you vulnerable that way, and they don’t know the right things to say – or not say, sometimes. I cannot express enough that we don’t really know what it’s like until it’s happening to us. Everyone thinks that they can manage it in an “amicable way” until they’re sitting across the table from each other. And when it’s happening to a loved one or a good friend, whoever, you’re only getting a snapshot of what is really going on inside of their head and heart and how challenging the entire process is. You also make a great point, instead of platitudes laced with cliches it would be nice to unload some of it to someone just to get it out of our head, someone who would be wiling to stand in the storm with us and just listen without judgement…and not just my therapist! 😉
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Your last point is exactly what you helped me with a loved one earlier through another comment. Seriously, you can do this!
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You’re too kind, and I appreciate the encouragement. A divorce help guide wouldn’t be such a bad idea…could be in the near future, why not?
I totally agree. In fact, I think there really is no such thing as “being the better person.” I do think it’s something people made up as some virtuous act. What you say at the end is what I’d decided a few years ago. And if I do decide to do something kind or nice, then it’s because I want to and I feel it in my heart, not because I’m taking sh*t from someone and “being the better person.” That’s for the birds.
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I agree one hundred percent…clearly it struck a cord with a few people. I’m so sick of being the better person, its exhausting!
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