When It’s OK to Be a Bad Person

Right after I launched my How to Be a Better Person podcast, I was re-connecting with a college friend. She asked what I was up to. I shared that I had just started the podcast. She said, “Oh, I need that! But sometimes I just want to be a catty, bad person, LOL.”

Which, I mean, I totally get. We all have our moments where we are quick to judge, gossip, or bitch. Not only is it human, it can be kind of FUN.

First of all, being a better person is not all or nothing. I mean, it’s not “be a perfect person,” or “be a good person at all times or else you are a piece of poo.” I believe that we are doing the best that we can at any given time, and sometimes that ‘best’ may look like someone else’s ‘bad’, but that doesn’t negate your inherent goodness.

I mean, yes, in general, the more open-hearted, brave, tolerant, kind, equitable, and inclusive we can all be, the better off everyone in this world will be. But too much striving—even striving to be ‘better’—can mess with your head.

Here a few times when it’s OK to be a ‘bad person:’

When you need to vent.

We all have to get stuff off our chest sometimes, so we can process it and get it out of our head. Venting is just the ticket. The trick is to keep to what my husband calls “off gassing” and not veering into complaining, which just drags you and the other person down. To do that, just set an intention before you dive in, by saying something like, “I want to share this for the purpose of getting it off my chest so that I can see the situation more clearly.”

When the effort of being ‘better’ is dragging you down.

Clearly, I believe in making choices that bring out your better nature. But sometimes, it all gets a little wholesome. Aka, boring. Sometimes taking time off is just the ticket. (I have a podcast episode about that.)

Also, sometimes you’re trying to do the right thing, but doing so comes at a cost to your emotional wellbeing–things like people pleasing, or spending time with someone you feel like you’re supposed to like, but who just makes you feel bad–for whatever reason. In those instances, the ‘better’ choice is to take care of yourself.

When the effort of being ‘better’ is becoming all-consuming.

Trying to do the right thing, let’s be honest, can lead to disordered thinking. In fact, there’s a term for that state of mind where you get obsessive about making healthy choices, it’s called orthorexia, and it can lead to malnutrition and other disorders, such as anorexia. Sometimes, you’ve got to eat the carbs, or play hooky, or blow off some part of adulting.


I have a podcast episode about The Importance of Being Naughty that talks about why it’s OK, and even a good thing, to periodically NOT do the wholesome thing. Take a listen and feel free to let me know your thoughts on when it’s OK to be a ‘bad person.’

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Want to be a better person, but don’t know where to start?

My new daily podcast, How to Be a Better Person, is here to help by sharing one simple thing you can do in the next 24 hours to rise. My mission? To help you live your best life.

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