I spent my days convinced that most people, if not all, were inherently good. I believed the world was an overall okay place, and getting better by the hour. As naive as it seems, there’s a story here. It wasn’t always this way. I remember growing up into a cynic. I recall my aversion to other people, in general. I distinctly remember spending every day believing the world was out to get me. It was an unfortunate existence—being morose and angry all the time.
Without getting into the long-winded stories of why I grew up to be that way, allow me to tell you about what happened after. One day, perhaps, out of boredom or fatigue of my morbid disposition towards the world I inhabited, I chose to believe in goodness. It started on a whim. It wouldn’t hurt to be a little trusting of others, I thought.
Of course, terrible things happened as they do, and yet, I convinced myself that most people, no matter what they did to me, were good. I stopped asking people to earn being good. To me, they just were. People were good. Stupid? Maybe you could make a solid case for it. Irresponsible? Of course! But, most people were good. Goodness was the instinct, the default expectation, and our last line of defense in a cynical and lonely world.
No one could take that away from me. I won’t give up on it. It wasn’t something I was taught to believe in; it was something I chose to believe in every day. My trust in the world and those around me was a choice. You could break all the bones in my body, or take everything I own away, or give me the largest heartbreak in the history of heartbreaks, and leave a gaping hole where my hope would otherwise live, and I’d still sing ballads about goodness and all things bright and beautiful.
To believe in inherent goodness was something I chose to do for myself. Nothing anyone could do would take it away from me. You see, I have believed in goodness, and I have believed otherwise; if I had a choice, I would choose goodness, and so I did, every day.