I believe everyone is a good person

Kelly - Bend, Oregon
Entered on March 19, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

“This I believe”

When I was younger, whenever I would see someone smoking or someone with lots of tattoos, I would automatically think they were a bad person. If someone didn’t look right to me or if they were doing something that I thought was wrong, I would label them as a bad person. I would always think, why would they want to do that? Or, why would they want to look like that? I believe that everyone is born a good person, some just make bad choices.

It was only a few years ago that I could answer those questions myself and, for the most part, it was a pretty simple answer. Either they were raised that way or they can’t help it. I also began to understand that most of those people didn’t want to look the way they did or didn’t want to live the way they did, but a lot of them didn’t have a choice. I noticed that there were a lot of kids I went to school with that I had judged by the way they looked or the way their parents looked and immediately associated them with the term “bad people”. Now I know that many of them don’t want to look like that. They don’t make that decision. It could just be how they were raised. Or maybe they have grown to like it. Either way, I have come to realize that it has nothing to do with their personality.

I was always taught to be nice to everyone and include them, no matter what. Even when I didn’t want to, I was forced to put up with all kinds of people. I was quick to assume things about people if, just once, I saw their parent yell at them or do something I thought was unacceptable. I never thought to stop and walk in their shoes for a while; to see what they were dealing with.

Now I understand that not everyone has such a good life. I have taken so much for granted. Some people do bad things to try and forget about their problems or to get away from the hard times they are going through. A few years ago, I would’ve never thought about that. I would just think people did bad things because they were bad people. I was wrong. Now I can look at people and think, maybe they didn’t have enough money to pay rent this month. Or maybe something tragic happened to a close friend or family member. You never know. Thoughts like these help me to stop and think about the situations people might be in before I judge them. I believe that there are no bad people, only good people who make bad choices. Everyday I try to keep this in mind in order to see people for who they really are. “This I believe.”