10 Ways To Be A Better Person
When you add all the disparaging news of world events to the ongoing stress and frustrations of everyday life, you have a yourself quite an icky wax ball of emotions. It's easy to become stuck or feel hopeless when there are so many things happening that are beyond your control. But one of the most beautiful and powerful things you do have control over is how you decide to show up for your life.
You have the ability to be the best version of yourself as often as you'd like, outside circumstances be damned! I always remember the truth in this ability when I think about the week I spent in Costa Rica on a mission trip. One day, our group visited a village of people who lived in structures crafted from whatever semi-durable materials they could find. A large piece of cardboard, oversized leaves, and remnants of bed sheets were the "walls" of their homes. We had come to bring them what most consider to be supplies for basic hygiene: toothbrushes, toothpaste, combs, deodorant. The majority of these people were confused by the items. One memory from that trip that will never leave me is a small group of us college students conducting a demonstration on brushing one's teeth to grown women.
These people didn't have a floor other than dirt. Plumbing is a luxury they may never know. They were perplexed by a tube of Aquafresh. But you know what they did have? High spirits. (Like, a 10 out of 10 on the joyfulness meter.) Their little village in the woods was full of laughter and hugs and they welcomed in a group of strangers with a gentle ease that I had never experienced. It's like their souls shared a universal joy that radiated from their circle of shanties. Those people knew how to tap into their essence and show up to their life with profound happiness.
Witnessing this display of pure joy is one of the things that has pushed me to be a better person. I'm not always winning at this feat, but I refuse to stop trying. We all have room to grow and expand into incredible humans and these habits below can fast-track your journey.
It's easy to get frustrated or annoyed with people because let's face it, some people are difficult. But taking a step back to consider why certain people have such a rotten attitude offers you the opportunity to build compassion. Underneath most unattractive behaviors is some type of fear. Fear of rejection, fear of reliving a trauma, fear of losing control, fear that they don't measure up — this list could trail on into the sunset. While you shouldn't tolerate people treating you badly, learning to find some compassion for their hurt will release you from the angst their behavior sparks in you.
Whatever it is you're doing to be a better person, make sure to stay consistent. Even if you're taking a baby step every day, before long you will look back a see all the distance you've gained. The future is coming, so be prepared to be a better you one month from now by using the present moment to create habits and skills you want to develop.
Spend Time Alone
There are a multitude of benefits of alone time, but one of the richest is the ability to ground yourself in your authenticity. Making the time to be by yourself fosters a sense of connection between you and your thoughts. It's hard to put your best foot forward when you're giving a large sum of your energy to others, so be sure to schedule regular "me time" if you want to stay on top of your best-self game.
Listen To Others
Take a breather from being a share bear and practice listening to what others have to say. Ask them real questions — not just surface inquiries — and don't open your mouth until they have completely answered. Concentrate on what they are saying as if it is the most interesting thing in the world. Look them in the eye while they're talking. See what you can learn by giving them your undivided attention. (And don't you dare look at your phone while another person is talking.)
Find Ways To Be Generous
Embrace the practice of random acts of kindness. Be a big tipper. Pick up the tab for a stranger. Drop dinner on your friend's porch with no expectations. When you're open and willing to being more generous, the opportunities to do so come to you organically. You no longer need to search for ways to accomplish this task and instead see clearly the moments where you can insert some generosity.
Manage The Judgement Reflex
Your brain is wired to categorize all manner of things. Because of this, you tend to judge people that don't fit neatly into the categories you've created in your mind. And the same goes for self-judgement. When you judge yourself for something, you feel you've somehow fallen out of sync with the type of person you aspire to be. As you begin to use the skill of building compassion, judgement tends to melt away. It may not be humanly possible to be completely judgement free, so being aware and catching yourself when you hear those judgmental thoughts roar is the most realistic way to stay in a non-judgey zone.
It's difficult to go about being the type of person you aspire to be when you aren't able to fully accept and love yourself. This process is one that should always stay in motion. It's the great work of our lives to find opportunities to know ourselves more deeply, to love all the things that are true about us and intentionally refuse to put energy into the lies about ourselves that we've believed. This is one of the most powerful ways to become the type of human that lives with ease and joy, and in turn, inspires others to do that same.
Connect With Likeminded People
A nourishing way to validate your feelings and beliefs is to gather with those who share your same world view. Being in a safe space allows you to share your thoughts and ideas with less threat of ridicule. And as you join forces with others who share your passions and vision to do great things, you can collaborate to turn wonderful intentions into realities.
Connect With Different-minded People
Although having a support system that is likely to agree with most things you say is nice, never venturing outside of your comfortable circle of people doesn't leave much room for growth. There is so much to learn about yourself, others, and the world as a whole when you have respectful and honest conversations with people who see the world in a different way than you do. Connecting with those who think and live differently from you can enrich your life experience and help you gain a valuable perspective.
If your joy is a balloon, than comparison is a fresh dart. Yet comparison is a habit that's hard to shake. It's most crippling when you see another person with something that you wish for yourself. But you don't have to let this become an all-consuming thought. Just like building compassion helps you shake off judgement, you can win the battle with comparison by finding a way to be happy for other people when good things happen to them. When you allow yourself to think positively about the successes of others, you open yourself up to receive those same wonderful things — and you free yourself from feeling like you are lacking something.