Be good, but be yourself too

Our morality should not trap us, but should flex to allow for our individuality. Photo by Beth Jnr on Unsplash

If I am a moral being, then I will probably try to keep to ethical codes which, in my view, apply across humanity.  For example, if I believe in kindness, then I will try to be kind, and also hope that everyone comes to apply kindness in a similar manner.

However, as well as a moral being, I am an individual character.  My mind and body are not the same as anyone else, and therefore, although moral codes are generally applicable, they are individually flexible.

To offer a simple example, even if one believes that everyone should say thank you, one would make an exception for a person incapable of communicating because of a disability.  Any general definition of a good life is subject to flexibility based on individual circumstance.

Sometimes I am strict with myself, and try to conform to a rigid idea of how a person should behave.  When I do this, I ignore the fact that morality should flex to take account of my character and situation.

I am a biological being that prefers to have a home territory and a home environment.  Just as I am kind to others, and try to flex to allow for their individual experience of life, so I should be kind to myself, and flex my strictness to allow for my own individual experience of life.

Psychologically, depression can be caused if someone is repeatedly deprived of the chance to live as they naturally prefer.  This is the same effect as causing depression in animals by keeping them in inappropriate captivity.

AN EXERCISE

Just for today, I will look for chances to argue for freedom for myself.  I will seek ways to flex my moral approach to allow for my individual character and situation.  I will continue to be good, but will allow myself to do it in a ‘me’ way.

I will let myself live on home territory, to have tastes and preferences, to have personal limits and loves.  I will not treat myself like a caged animal.  I will be more sympathetic, and treat myself like a dual being – profoundly moral and spiritual, but also individual and preferential.

Just for today, I will let myself be me.