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How can we become a better person?
When it comes to being a better person and becoming a great person, we are often more achievement focused. Being a great person is not about what we have though, it’s about what we give.
Few of us actively make kindness a part of our personal growth. What you give lasts. Not necessarily materially because giving doesn’t always mean just physically giving. You can also give time, energy, love What you give lasts in people’s hearts and minds and in our own as well. To become a better person, we must implement kindness and generosity and giving into our daily lives.
Kindness is something that seems to be so basic, yet few of us actually take the time to think about it and act on it. We go about the day so engrossed in our own problems.
There is so much power in kindness and generosity. And it is so necessary. Here are 25 ways you can become a better person and how you can be more kind, practice it, and make it part of your lifestyle.
1. Read more books
Not only can reading books allow you to learn about and understand other people’s experiences, lives, and worldviews, but science shows that reading books actually builds and increases our empathy. Empathy allows us to better understand others different than us and have compassion for different people which makes us more likely to contribute, help others out, give love and support, and do good.
2. Develop abundance mindset
When you have an abundance mindset, there is always enough. There is always enough time, money, love, resources. People who are operating out of abundance tend to be people who give and share with others.
On the other hand, people who have a scarcity mindset are driven by fear because they believe there is never enough so they will tend to hold on tight and attach themselves to things to themselves, be less likely to share and give, will hoard, and be painfully frugal.
So people driven by an abundant mindset operate out of love and joy, while people driven by a scarcity mindset operate out of fear.
3. Listen more, ask more
When you listen and ask more, you are better able to learn and understand others. Compassion and empathy are learned emotions and behaviors.
In conversations, the reality is that most people don’t listen. Most of us are just trying to say what we need to say or thinking of what we should say next rather than focusing on listening first.
Most people also mostly talk about themselves rather than asking questions about the other person. We may think that talking about ourselves will make other people like us and think we’re cool and interesting, but people are less likely to like us when we talk more about ourselves and less about the other person.
And not only that, when we talk about the other person asking them questions and learning about them, we’re more likely to not only make a new friend, but learn something new.
When we hold on to grudges and refuse to let go of hurt and negative emotions about people and situations, we’re only hurting ourselves and those around us not just those who we’re refusing to forgive.
People who believe that people can change and grow are more likely to be more forgiving of others. It can be very easy to hate and hold onto those hurt emotions, especially if the other person shows no form of remorse, but forgiveness allows us to challenge ourselves and grow and heal ourselves through any hurt feelings.
Forgiving people are also less likely to judge and are more likely to, not necessarily condone, but accept, understand, and respect others and their situations and behaviors. Respect in the sense of basic human decency. There is always a reason for every thought, behavior, and action.
How we treat others usually originates from how we treat ourselves. When we learn to accept things about ourselves and our lives, it becomes easier to accept others as well. Just like forgiveness, acceptance does not mean condoning. It just means to not fight or resist with what is whether that be ourselves or others. Acceptance is to not just be aware of the facts, but to just be at peace with them, even the ones we want to change or we don’t like.
Acceptance means not trying to change others. To just accept them as who they are. It can be hard to understand why some people think, say and do the things that they do.
Humility is the ability to recognize how small we are, that are just a little piece of something huge. It’s knowing that we are not anymore important or valuable than anyone else. Humility allows us to step out of our own perspective and bubble and think about how others have their own full lives and problems.
Humility is about not being so self-focused and self-centered that we are unaware and unconscious to the need and wants of others around us. Some of can be completely unaware of this because we are so focused and absorbed in our own needs and wants and problems.
All of this talk in the media and blogs about self-love and reaching our own goals and success can inflate our importance in relation to others without even recognizing it. It’s very easy to become so narrow-minded and develop tunnel vision when it comes to ourselves and our part in the world and society. We as humans tend to shine the spotlight on ourselves, even when we don’t want to. We worry about how we look, what we say, how we sound, what others think about us.
Practicing humility will help shine attention and spotlight on others to theirs and your own benefit.
Generosity is the skill of giving for no other reason other than wanting to give or contribute simply for the sake of it. It should not be confused with doing things for other people for reasons that you expect something in return like for a favor in return or for them to like you.
Generosity comes out of simply wanting to be generous. It’s sincere and genuine. It’s not, “Oh I don’t really want to do this, but I’m just being nice.” You have to want to.
8. Stop people pleasing and be genuine
When you people please, it’s not genuine. And people can definitely feel that and can tell. It doesn’t benefit anyone. The person who is on the receiving end feels uncomfortable and like the other person is acting out of obligation.
Have you ever met someone who was super nice to you, but rude to workers and waiters? Or they were always complimenting you, but always had something mean to say about everyone else? Or they showered you with gifts and ‘love’ only because they wanted something in return or to manipulate you? This is similar and these people may very well be people pleasers. They just want everyone to like them if it serves them.
This is not most people pleasers though. People pleasing often stems out of fear and anxiety, fear of rejection and low self-esteem which results in lower standards, letting people walk all over us, and being afraid to say no.
You should never try to be generous for the sake of being liked. That’s not generosity. It’s people pleasing. And people will often see right through it.
9. Learn body language and social cues
Studies found that one of the main differences between psychopathic brains and normal brains is that psychopathic brains aren’t able to read expressions of fear in other people like normal brains are. People who were highly generous were found to be able to read these expressions in others more than normal. The ability to understand and read others with their body language, facial expression and social cues, the better we can understand others and the more empathetic and kind we are.
Sometimes people mistreat and inconvenience others unintentionally, not because they are trying to, but because they aren’t aware of it. They can’t read when other people are uncomfortable or fearful. When we can learn this language, we become more attentive to others and needs and wants and we are then able to adjust accordingly.
10. Learn about relationships, communication skills, charisma, and psychology
All these things not only help us how to communicate with others more, but help us understand others more. When we implement ideas from these teachings like learning how to actively listen, be a better friend, partner, mother, father, daughter, son, sister, brother, etc. we become better able and more likely to be kind and compassionate toward others. We become a better person overall.
Human psychology will teach you that every human thought, emotion, and behavior is understandable and most often predictable. Yes, we have free choice, but we do not operate in a vacuum. There is always a reason for everything. We are flawed and have countless of cognitive biases.
Humans are affected by our environment, from our upbringing to our peers to our past experiences. We can even be affected by The Curse of Knowledge which can make it hard to understand others because of what we do know. It can be hard to understand living as others do without what we already know. Psychology doesn’t necessarily excuse behavior, but it does explain it.
11. Learn to love the ‘unloveable’
I learned this from my friend who was a high school teacher. He told me how important it was for him as a teacher to love those who were harder to love or who by upbringing or society were deemed as unloveable.
Loving the unloveable or people who can do absolutely nothing for you is not only what is needed, but only comes from pure joy and love from the heart. It’s soulful. It feels good to do and the unloveable are in desperate need of it.
12. Ask yourself, what would love do?
Asking this question can help you realize the best choice of option in many situations and with many problems. Love is a problem solver.
When you ask what would love do, you avoid impulsivity, regretting your actions later on, and creating further mistakes and problems. Instead of reacting to what was said or done to you, you are proactive. You’re acting from within with love and authenticity.
13. Expand your circle
This doesn’t mean you have to be friends with everyone, but you should try to interact with people outside your circle and give them a chance. Talk to them, spend time with them, learn from them, get to know and understand them.
We can be limited by our own tight circles because our friends likely have similar beliefs, opinions, and ideals to ours. We’re often not challenged or learning anything new if we stick to the same people, media outlets, etc.
14. Practice integrity
Having integrity is really at the core of how to become a better person is all about. Practicing integrity consists of questioning, rethinking, and challenging your belief systems, ideals, standards, values, and behaviors and whether they are serving you.
Then being in line with those values and constantly checking in with yourself to make sure you are. This is not just important for being kind, but for your own mental health as well. At the end of the day, you’re the one that has to live with yourself for the rest of your life.
15. Be straightforward, honest and deal with situations head on
This is the best way to handle nearly every situation. This also helps avoid further problems and conflicts. Dishonesty, beating around the bush, and avoiding can hurt others a lot more than being straightforward. Even though being straightforward can hurt, people do appreciate it. It hurts a lot more to be ghosted and bread-crumbed than to be flat out rejected with sincerity head on.
Research found that people hate lack of closure more than bad news or unhappy endings. This makes sense why we’ll keep watching a crappy movie and tv show just so we can see what happens. When we’re left wondering
16. Ask yourself, “how can I make a positive impact for someone today or how can I make someone’s life easier or how can I help someone today?”
Make sure you’re supporting your friends through both their good and bad times. Being there for someone doesn’t solely mean when they need help or times are tough.
It can also nice to be there when they have good news or something important to them to share or want to celebrate their success with you. People need emotional support for both good and bad times.
This question can also help reframe social interactions. Instead of putting the attention on yourself wondering and thinking about what others are thinking, think how you can make a positive impact on that person’s life. Even just a genuine smile or laugh is a great thing, especially when someone’s having a mundane or bad day.
You want to be the person that will brighten someone’s day not someone that will just make it more difficult or will dampen someone’s mood.
17. Ask someone
Most people don’t offer to help unless they are asked to. And most people don’t want to ask for help. We are a very independent, individualist culture in the West. The thing is that most of us are in need or want of help at least at one point during our day.
None of us would be who we are or where we are today without the help and kindness of others.
If you see someone that you think needs help, ask if they need help. If you don’t ask, that person doesn’t get any help and you miss out on an opportunity to connect with someone and make a difference in their lives. Not even trying or asking means you’re just already failing ahead of time.
18. Reach out to a friend, family member, acquaintance
This can never hurt and you never know if someone needs that at that moment. Just like stated in the previous point, most people won’t reach out to other out of pride and fear and even if they do reach out, they won’t flat out say, “Hey I’m sad,” or, “I need a friend. Let’s talk or hang out.”
Checking in and reaching out for no other reason than to do that makes such a difference in people’s lives. Even if they are the happiest they’ve ever been in their life, they want to connect with others. Who wouldn’t want to share their joy, happiness and excitement with others?
19. Make the choice and develop kindness as a habit
Focus on being intentionally and proactively kind. Most of us are reactive. We are kind when someone is kind to us yet when someone gives us the middle finger, we are quick to give it right back.
Kindness is a choice we have the power to make. We don’t have to be reactive. We can take initiative and be kind when we don’t need to or when it’s difficult to. That’s where personal growth happens.
20. Start small
People may think, “Oh I don’t have time to go out and volunteer.” Or, “Oh, I don’t have enough money to donate.” But they don’t realize that being kind really doesn’t have to take any time out of your day and it’s 100% free. All it takes is the thought and the action. Smiling is free and takes no time when you’re coming into work or passing strangers or checking out at the grocery store.
Even just taking one calendar day out of the entire year to do volunteer work or community service is small, but can make a huge difference.
21. Go above and beyond
When it comes to being kind and contributing, you can go above and beyond. I think that is so cool. It doesn’t mean to donate a whole bunch of money either. You can get really creative with ways to kind!
When it comes to becoming a better person, we go beyond just being a good person to become a great person. It’s so much easier to settle for becoming a good person and missing out becoming a great person.
Most people don’t think about going the extra mile with kindness unless it comes to a job interview or a romantic prospect.
I recently read about a woman who made the news for bringing goodie bags on a flight for everyone including all the passengers and flight crew. She wanted to do it because it was her birthday and she thought it would be a fun idea. It made such a huge impact on her life that her focus now is to spread the idea of kindness and she gives talks about that.
She didn’t even expect to be on the news, but she still regularly gets emails about the act of kindness of bringing goody bags on a flight.
22. Make room and time for it
Don’t overbook and overschedule yourself. Be strategic about your schedule. Also, plan it out. If you want to contribute more, put it on your schedule. Do your research for what interest you, look into it, and plan it out. You can use this list for ideas or make your own!
23. Take risks
Being kind can sometimes be uncomfortable. People may reject you, not say thank you, give you a dirty look and brush you off. All of this has nothing to do with you though. The good thing is that most people won’t have this reaction though. Either way, our fear can stop us from being kind.
Practicing the skill of risk taking is helpful when it comes to being kinder because that often comes with stepping out of our comfort zones and talking to people that we don’t know too well. It’s very easy for us to be kind and generous to our family, friends and people who are close to us, but not so much when it comes to strangers and people we don’t know very well, especially when it’s deliberate and intentional rather than by convenience.
24. Celebrate people
Remember things about people, not just birthdays but important moments in their lives, beyond basic dates. Doing this will have a meaningful impact on people’s lives. It’s something so small, yet it means so much to people when you do it.
25. Stop judging
When you judge, you risk being wrong about someone. When you interact with someone, you are only seeing one angle. One snapshot. One moment.
We see and know so very little that judging doesn’t make any sense. It’s not a logical, smart thing to do. It’s our brains being lazy and wanting to categorize people instead of going deep and trying to learn and understand.
When you judge, there’s lack of context and facts and understanding. Judging is ignorance.
Judging is an excuse that makes it easier to not be kind. It’s a justification. It’s also a lousy type of self-validation. Judging is a form of thinking you are higher in importance and you are “better” than someone else.
Judging is not only assumptions. It’s gross oversimplification. It’s essentially closing your mind off to someone because of your opinions and beliefs and because of what you do know or you think you know, not what you don’t know or might not know.
There is so much we don’t know about other people, even the people we are close to. We know so little about what is actually going on in other people’s live and their pasts and situations and experiences and thoughts and emotions.
Instead of judging, try to understand and accept and give the benefit of the doubt.
Hopefully these ways and tips have inspired you to become a better person and will help you to do so! By expanding beyond our own personal achievement in becoming a better person, that is how we truly grow and become great because it becomes less about our individual selves and more about the collective level. This is true and almost quite literal expansion and growth of ourselves. In reality, to become a better person ironically becomes less about ourselves and more about others even though it is about ourselves.