Bad Thoughts Don’t Make You a Bad Person

Bad thoughts don’t make you a bad person

If you’ve ever had a bad thought – like punching someone for cutting in front of you in line, or yelling at a loved one just because you’ve had a bad day – don’t worry; bad thoughts don’t make you a bad person.

Here’s why.

Let’s Clear Something Up First

Before we talk about anything else, I want to clear up something important: there aren’t good people and bad people. There are just people. There are people who do destructive things and people that do beneficial things. People are people and actions are actions

People are capable of amazing changes. Labeling people, including ourselves, by past actions only makes it more difficult to change our future actions as we begin to believe our own bad press.

Yet, despite anything we’ve done in the past we all have a future blank slate to do either good things or bad things – to make choices that are wise and healthy or foolish and painful. In short, there are no bad people, just people who have done bad things.

That’s part of the reason why bad thoughts don’t make you a bad person, but there’s more to it.

Some Thoughts Aren’t Ours to Control

Don’t think of a pink elephant. What did you just think of? If I can make you think something even if you don’t want to, then how is that thought really under your control? How can having a thought flip into our head be morally bad?

A thought is a thought. A “bad” thought isn’t morally bad, as it’s not in our control. Feeding a bad thought however is not wise. It can lead to bad actions which have destructive consequences. We must focus on doing good and positive things, but having a bad thought doesn’t make you a bad person.

It’s okay if you get angry, want to do something bad, or even have a fleeting thought about having the people you love just shut up. These are normal thoughts, and thoughts are not actions. Bad thoughts don’t make you a bad person, and there are ways to deal with those thoughts.

Dealing with Bad Thoughts

We all have bad thoughts. We have mean thoughts. We have angry vindictive thoughts. And we have those, haven’t-had-sleep-in-3-days-when-will-the-noise-stop-I-just-want-to-blow-up-this-house thoughts.

Bad thoughts don’t make you a bad person, but finding ways to deal positively with those thoughts can make your life happier and more rewarding. Here are three simple things you can do when those thoughts strike:

  • Find Some Space: Sometimes it’s just best to get away. You might simply need to isolate yourself from the things that are wearing you down. Sometimes you just need sleep. If at all possible, get rest, get peace, get solitude.
  • Fire Up Endorphins: Get your body chemicals working for you. There are several ways to do this. Exercise. Soak up some sunshine. Go on an adventure. Create something. Learn something. Have some positive physical contact. Think of positive experiences in your life. All of these fire off various positive chemicals in your body like endorphins, vitamin-d, oxytocin, and others to put you in a better frame of mind.
  • Be Thankful: Sometimes just looking at things from a different point of view makes a world of difference. Sure the kids are screaming and driving you nuts, but that means you have kids who you’ve laughed with, played games with, and who love you. Sure work is bearing down, but it’s giving you income, skills, experience, and the chance for a better life. Even the challenges are sometimes themselves reminders of how blessed we are.

Life can be difficult, and sometimes we can think the most horrific things. But bad thoughts don’t make you a bad person. They make you a person in need of space, positive endorphins, and a change in perspective. Find ways to focus on turning your world around. Doing that will help you turn your thoughts around too.

David Bishop

David is CEO of Cedowin Productions, dedicated to helping you live your best life through positive habits. He has inspired tens of thousands to improve habits and communication through books, articles, workshops, and apps. He is the creator of AweVenture, helping families enjoy fantastic, active experiences and Zombie Goals, literally making building healthy habits a game. He’s authored several books including How to Create Amazing Presentations, 7 Steps to Better Relationships, and The Man in the Pit, which helps people who have loved ones struggling with depression.

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