Reflection: good vs. bad

Update: I am here in New Mexico, relaxing under the warm sun and blue skies, walking the dog, drinking coffee at the cafe down the road, riding the bike, hiking in the mountains, revisiting family, and even learning new activities -- like knitting. The weekend in Angel Fire was filled with good meals, lots of sleep, and some serious catching up in our lives. Santa Fe was dreamy. Albuquerque.... has lots of cars. Aunties K & S have been very, very sweet to me.

With all of this extra time I've had on my hands while vacationing, I thought it wise to do some self-reflection... a deep gaze into myself, my values, my actions, my friends. The big finding? I am a good person.

Many times in my life I have been warned that I need to be careful of the people I associate with. It's common knowledge that I generally presume the people with whom I choose to associate will strive to live their lives in a manner that is positive to everyone around them.

Announcement: I realize this belief is a fallacy. I understand that I might be taken advantage of, or that I may be manipulated. I am aware that some may lie to me, use me, or otherwise maliciously hurt me. I have indeed experienced the oppositive of what I believe...

Second Announcement: Despite understanding that the world is not "good" or "bad," and that such black and white categories are ultimately meaningless, and that naivety is silly, I continue to hope that others will look inside themselves for the best they can do. I continue searching for the type of people I want to associate with.

My question now, is, if I find someone that does not live his/her life in a positive manner, if that person has many negative attributes, if that person is dragging him/herself down, what do I do? Should I leave them to sink in their own pit, or do I dive in and try to teach them to swim? Either I suck at swimming lessons or the people I've tried to help have lead weights tied to their ankles... because they just don't get it. And they end up pulling me down with them.

I hate to give up-- but when does enough become enough? At what point do I turn around and abandon ship?

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