20 Feb 10 Ways to Become a Better Person
Throughout my life I’ve been on a journey of discovery learning how to become a better person. As a child I didn’t have the best upbringing and it certainly resulted in some personality traits that I needed to iron out.
As someone who’s travelled all over the world I’ve had some good times and some dark times, but each of those experiences has taught me major lessons about myself and how to treat others.
We all make mistakes in life and we all have some unsavoury traits in our personalities, but here’s what I’ve learnt about how to become a better person:
1. Gossip Less
We all need to talk. Sometimes we need to vent our frustrations with someone else so we’re not bottling up our feelings. But there’s also a danger of talking too much. We spend all our time WhatsApp messaging, calling and talking but not enough time just being. Not long ago I realised that I was talking with one of my girlfriends way too much. She would call me about her boy troubles, I would tell her about mine. But we were re-hashing the same topics over and over again, which isn’t really good for anyone. I realised that if we just talked about these things less, we’d be putting less focus on our problems and perhaps not feeling so bad about ourselves.
Occasionally most of us gossip too – it’s human nature – but have you noticed how gossiping can actually make you feel bad straight afterwards? I’ve noticed that the people who I like and respect the most are actually people who don’t talk about other people.
2. Listen more
When I’m having a conversation with another person I often find myself thinking about what I’m going to say next. We all do it. But the problem with that is you’re focusing on your own thoughts and you’re not really listening.
Next time you’re talking to someone, really try to listen to what they have to say. Don’t interrupt, don’t think about how you can relate their story back to yours. Just absorb what they’re saying, wait for a second, and then ask them a question about what they’ve just told you. It’s amazing how people will suddenly start to open up to you and fee comfortable in your presence.
3. Be honest
Always treat others as you would wish to be treated. Sometimes being honest is really hard because we’re worried about how the other person will react. In dating, lots of people prefer ‘ghosting’ (disappearing on the person without saying a word) but I prefer the honest approach. If I’ve been on a date and I’m not interested in that person, then I’ll simply tell them I don’t think I’d like to take it any further. It’s like ripping a band aid off – it’s uncomfortable for a second but then the person is grateful you didn’t waste their time.
4. Let go of anger and forgive
Holding onto anger doesn’t serve you. The best thing you can do is just let it go and forgive the other person. Forgive yourself if you need to.
Whenever I feel angry with another person I take a deep breath and realise that I have no control over that person’s actions. I can’t expect everyone to behave in the manner I would. But I can choose to let it go.
If someone does something hurtful, I forgive them and try to understand why they did what they did.
5. Stop Making Excuses
My mother spent her whole life making excuses. She had a bitter divorce – she blamed the lawyers for not getting her a better deal. She blamed my father for screwing her over and for the fact that she didn’t have a job (she quit to raise me). She made the excuse that she couldn’t get a job because she didn’t understand how to use a computer, but if I suggested taking computer courses she said she couldn’t do it.
I became desperately tired of listening to her making excuses for why she was struggling. She felt the world owed her something and that if she just sat on the couch all day, maybe some day she would win the lottery.
This whole experience as a child really spurred me on to become more self motivated. I stopped making excuses for my position and realised that I had a choice. A choice to work hard, a choice to pursue my dreams, a choice to make money, or to not make money.
If you stop making excuses and blaming other people, you’ll be on the road to success.
6. Know when to walk away
With this point I’m thinking specifically about relationships, but this can also apply to toxic friendships too. You can’t force someone to love you – love is something that has to be given freely. So if someone decides they don’t want to be with you, it’s time to walk away. Begging and pleading won’t get you anywhere.
7. Do things with love
Having empathy and compassion is an attractive quality. Do something nice for someone once in a while, but do it without expecting anything in return. When someone is struggling and needs you most, be there for them.
Sometimes I like to talk to strangers and it’s amazing how a simple conversation or a smile can change someone’s day.
8. Be respectful and communicate well
Wherever you go in life – be polite. Respect customs, pick your trash up off the floor and say “Please” or “Thank you” when you’re asking for something. It’s simple really, but it’s amazing how many people fail to do these simple things.
Communication is also key. Some people choose the cowardly response of silence when they don’t know how to respond. They believe that if they are silent the problem will simply go away on its own. But a respectable person will choose to confront the situation head on and communicate in a direct manner. It’s amazing how much better you feel for doing so.
9. Be resilient and embrace change
Lost your job? Had your heart broken? Sometimes life just doesn’t go the way you planned it. You can either fall into a pit of despair, or you can get out of your depression, lift yourself off the ground and take it as a sign that you need to move forward. You can choose to see whatever happened as a positive thing and do something you’ve always wanted to do. If you’re resilient and you can bounce back, then you’re ready for anything life throws at you.
10. Have patience
Having patience is always a tricky one as we live in a world where we want everything right now. We have Uber for taxis, Just Eat for food and Tinder for hookups. But there’s really something to be said for having patience and relaxing in the knowledge that things will come in their own time.