Let’s define terms here first. A good person “deep down” will not hurt—not even think—someone in any manner at any point of his/her life. Deep down refers to one’s soul or at the back of one’s mind.
I believe in change but not with “Deep down, you’re a good person.” You can clean up that stain, but you cannot change the fact that you were stained. If you were good “deep down,” you wouldn’t do things otherwise in the first place. Meaning, once you’ve broken the law and language of what is good in your community, forget being good “deep down.”
I would rather revise the statement to “Originally, you’re a good person.” I’d add, “You might have chosen evil before, but you can always go back to being good.” After all, you are your choices.
We are all born pure; we are all born good “deep down.” No, I don’t believe that we are inherently evil—not really a believer of “evil runs in the genes.” Try to look at a newborn. Do you see evil? No. We begin to be bad or good once we are taught which is bad and which is good. “Deep down goodness” is when you consider your actions carefully not to do what you know is evil. After all, we abide by the rules and the language our ancestors and our role models set.
Humans are made that way. We attempt to create order by setting our own definitions (just like what I did in the first paragraph). This is why we have laws, rules, language, science, and religions. But since we have free will, we are able to choose what to support and follow, and you cannot force people—unless they are willing—to believe what you believe in. In other words, we may have different opinions, but mine isn’t ahead of yours and vice versa. Good for you is not always good for others.
Thus, we attempt to create order by creating laws and religions, but unknowingly, we also end up causing chaos. But then again, without these laws and religions, will it not be worse than chaos?
Not minding my definition (and because I like debating with myself), what if you feel guilt? While guilt has a negative connotation, it is an emotion where you know you have done something wrong. Does that make you good “deep down”?
I’ve seen and heard this, and it bothered me, thus this blog. I wonder how many would say this to people who committed mistakes. We love to sugarcoat, so we’d rather say, “Deep down, you’re a good person. Stop blaming yourself. I know you can change” than “You’ve been a stupid asshole, yes. But you always have the option to stop being one, forgive yourself, and change for the better.”