For most of my life, I have had an interesting relationship with being the \”bad guy\” in people\’s stories.
On the one hand, I genuinely don\’t enjoy hurting people, so I often allow myself to be painted as the \”bad guy\” (i.e. taking all the blame) when I have issues/disputes/misunderstandings with people. On the other hand, I don\’t enjoy \”debating\” with people (especially opinionated people who always have to be right). So I keep my opinion to myself when I discuss controversial or potentially controversial issues. Partly because I don\’t have the patience for stubborn people but mostly because I don\’t want to be on the receiving end of anyone\’s disapproval.
However, over the last couple of weeks, I have been toying with the idea of being the \”bad guy\” in the story, and I have come to a few realizations.
Realization number one. In some situations accepting the role of the \”bad guy\” doesn\’t make you a \”bad person\”. For example, I recently read a few articles about sexual harassment, rape and gender equality. Surprisingly, many of those posts received negative criticism even though the issues raised in the posts were valid. To many people, the writers of these posts are the \”bad guys\”; however, in reality, they aren\’t the \”bad guys\”. In fact, they are a voice for those on the receiving end of gender inequality and sexual abuse, which are important issues.
So what does this have to do with the \”bad guy\” image? Well, we live in a world with ever-increasing problems, and we often shy away from speaking up on important issues because we don\’t want to be viewed as the \”bad guy\”. However, the truth is we cannot change the wrong things around us by remaining silent. And most times, speaking up may temporarily make you the \”bad guy\”, but only because people dislike being challenged or told they are wrong.
Another realization is this. The \”bad guy\” is something fear tells you 1) to keep you from stepping out of your comfort zone and 2) to make you doubt your self-worth. It is probably hard to swallow this \”idea\”, but think about it for a minute. When you don\’t understand that your thoughts and opinions are valid, you shy away from voicing them. Which in turn leads to my first point. You shy away from sharing those thoughts because you are scared of the response you might receive.
In the past, I often played the \”bad guy\” because I felt if someone was upset with me, then my feelings weren\’t valid. Even when the person\’s emotions were misplaced, I still thought I had to be the \”bad guy\” so the other person would not be hurt and would feel better. I have now realized that it is not my place to prevent people from getting hurt by their actions. That is something they need to deal with themselves.
I guess at the end of the day, what I am trying to say is it\’s okay if people \”see\” you as the \”bad guy\” if you are doing the thing and for the right reason. Everybody who has made a difference in this world was a \”bad guy\” at one point or the other. Finally, your thoughts, feelings, and opinions are valid. You don\’t have to bury them or accept undeserved blame because you think you deserve it or because you are avoiding a confrontation.
So speak up, your voice matters.