Idioms 101: "Good Place" Versus "Better Place"

What does "You're in a good place now" mean?

(SPOT.ph) By definition, an idiom is a phrase or expression that presents a figurative and non-literal meaning. Some of the common ones we use in English conversations are "feeling under the weather," which means you're feeling sick; and "once in a blue moon" to say that something happens rarely. In Filipino, we say "masakit sa bulsa" to refer to something expensive and not a literal feeling of pain in our pocket.

In a birthday greeting from Vice President Leni Robredo to Kim Chiu posted on Instagram on April 20, the presidential candidate said that the artist is such an inspiration to her and many people. "I know you're in a good place now," she pointed out.

This idiom got a few people confused with another expression, "You're in a better place now." And sure, the nature of idioms mean the meaning can get a little confusing, but that's not really something a quick Google check can't clarify before one jumps to conclusions. Oh hey, there's another idiom right there. We'll leave you to figure that one out as we return to the topic at hand. (You can Google that, too). 

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Here's the lowdown on "good place" versus "better place," according to dictionaries you can easily Google:

"A better place"

According to YourDictionary, better place means "a realm of posthumous pleasure." It's often used to console someone whose loved one has just died, as in "He/She is in a better place now."

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"A good place"

The Free Dictionary refers to the phrase "come from a good place" to mean "to be motivated by decency, kindness, or good intentions."

"In a good place" is also a common phrase used to refer to "a person's state of mind, serenity, confidence, optimism." It's often used in conversations related to mental health, which means to say that a person is in a good place mentally, according to non-profit, non-stock Filipino organization Mental Health AWHEREness.

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Back in October 2021, Chiu opened up about the importance of mental health and how she's prioritizing her well-being as a public figure. The year 2020, according to her, was "super challenging" following a viral remark she made about her home network ABS-CBN's shutdown. But those dark days are behind her as she pointed out in an ABS-CBN News interview, especially with her daily mental and physical routine.

"I know you're in a good place now. [...] Gusto ko lang kunin ang pagkakataon sabihin sa 'yo how inspiring your life has been for many people including myself. Sinusubaybayan ko 'yong journey mo at ikaw ang pinakamagandang example ng pag-defy ng lahat ng odds. At 'yong kasikatan ay ginagamit para mag-influence ng iba sa kabutihan. So keep up the good work. Keep inspiring others. I wish you all the best. We wish all the luck in the world kasi you deserve it. Happy birthday," Robredo told Chiu in the video greeting.

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"In a ... place"

According to Cambridge Dictionary, the informal phrase "in a ... place" can be "used to talk about someone's feelings, situation, or mental condition." Examples from the Cambridge Dictionary are:

  • I feel like I'm in a better place about who I am.
  • Remember that he's just lost his wife and he's in a vulnerable place.
  • We're in this weird place where we don't know what's going to happen.
  • I'm just not in a place where I can think about work right now.

The Good Place

The Good Place is an American fantasy comedy series that ran for four seasons from 2016 to 2020. It follows Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell), a woman who ends up in the "Good Place" after her death. In this fictional world, the "Good Place" is a Heaven-like utopia that only a select few can enter as supposedly a reward for a life well-lived. The "Good Place" in The Good Place is discussed throughout the series in a very existential grab-your-Philo-notes way.

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