Being Authentic : Give Yourself Permission To Be Bad

The safest person in the world, and also the most awakened, is the one who intimately knows their own ‘badness’ and who sees their own shadow. This is the only kind of person who is capable of creating a world that is conscious, authentic, and harmonious. The most dangerous person in the world, and also the least awakened, is the person who is convinced he is good to the degree that he can say or do anything and spin it into the idea that saying it or doing it makes him good.

Teal Swan

As a recovering people-pleaser and recovering co-dependent person, it came as a shock to realise that to overcome and move forward beyond these patterns, I have to give myself permission to be bad.

What does this mean?

Most of us are programmed early on that to be a ‘good’ person, we need to be or do X,Y,Z. Your particular flavour of X, Y, and Z could be to be a super achiever, also needing to be productive to prove and validate who you are. You could live a life pleasing others and doing what you think they need so that you feel safe to be a ‘good’ person.

While watching a Teal Swan conversation with a member of her team recently on a video, he had the big issue of being a codependent person. I could totally recognise myself in him, especially in my past. I realise now even how much I would try and shirk responsibility for honest, real choices by saying I couldn’t do it because I was doing something else for someone else, the virtuous reason was my way out.

Listening, I realised the codependent person lives their life needing to be a good person all the while making choices from selfish aims masquerading as selfless. And to recover from this, we have to acknowledge that what we are doing isn’t selfless; most of the time we do things simply for our own reasons.

Being selfish doesn’t make us ‘bad’ people, but we have been programmed to believe that at all times we need to show the outer world that we are ‘good’ people because being a ‘bad’ person brings with it feelings like shame and guilt. Sometimes we need to own the shame, feel it, acknowledge it, and validate it. To be okay being a bad person.

I’m writing this in a way to help myself understand it better. I’ve been doing a lot of inner child work, and part of this is embracing all of the inner children that have been desperately wounded during childhood and, as a result, have been protecting me from harm. Some of that could be protecting me from perceived harm by making sure we are always perceived as a good person. I would never say to my inner child that you’re a bad person, because this is not what I’m trying to get at here, but to know that the label bad person needn’t be so scary a label to acknowledge. The more we resist and cling onto being a ‘good’ person, the more the traits of a ‘bad’ person can bubble up like a ping pong ball being held under the water, and before long it comes up with a big splash. So owning being bad can help us release the need to be good, relax, and be whatever we need to be in any given moment.

Good is also a perception that relates to what we believe. If we believe being good means being part of a specific religion and anyone who is not in that religion is bad or a sinner, then this can cause a resistant way of being. We can then stop being self-aware. A serial killer, a rapist, a serial adulterer, and beyond could all be labelled good in the minds of those who do the acts we may view as morally and ethically wrong or bad.

As Teal says in an article I found:

If You Want to Become Enlightened, See and Accept Your Badness


What Does It Take To Drop The Need To Be A ‘Good’ Person?


  • If someone asks you to do something and you don’t want to do it, you don’t excuse it by saying, ‘I can’t. I am doing something for someone else today; I have other appointments unfortunately’. Instead, you simply say, ‘I don’t want to do that’. The end.

  • Acknowledge that where you are trying to appear to be a good person may be pushing a big part of who you really are into your subconscious. And while we try to be good, we are also stopping all opportunities to be self-aware. Repression never works; it always comes up in other ways.

  • To own our badness, we also need to become aware of the shame that sinks deep into the unconscious through our perpetual need to be ‘good’. We need to own and validate that shame, and only then can we move forward and let that shame go.


For someone who has been used to masquerading as a ‘good person’ for most of my life to feel safe and someone who has believed to have my own needs was wrong or not allowed, saying what I want, need, or don’t want without giving a full explanation on why to others, this is going to be a tip my toe into it and tip my toe out of it for a while. I need to assimilate and integrate this new understanding. Knowing our wholeness is a gradual experience, not something we can ‘cure’ overnight or need to cure. It’s more about simply becoming aware in the beginning and feeling safe to be authentic.

If you are interested in learning more about how to be authentic, read my post called Are You Scared To Be Authentic?


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Kelly Martin
Kelly Martin

Kelly Martin, author of ‘When Everyone Shines But You’ is a dedicated writer and blogger who fearlessly explores life’s deepest questions. Faced with a decade of profound anxiety and grief following the loss of her father and her best friend Michael, Kelly embarked on a transformative journey guided by mindfulness, and she hasn’t looked back since. Through her insightful writing, engaging podcasts, and inspiring You Tube channel Kelly empowers others to unearth the hidden treasures within their pain, embracing the profound truth that they are ‘enough’ exactly as they are.

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