Every year, either at New Year’s or on my birthday, I vow to be a better person. Within weeks, I’m back to my normal self, with minor improvements. The older I get, the easier it becomes, somehow. Even the smallest changes can end up being life-altering, making you a better person, a happier person. Here are my top ten simple, easy ways you can be a better person…
When was the last time you felt someone really listened to you? We all love that quality in a friend, but how many of us are good listeners? It’s not as easy as it sounds, but it’s something almost all of us can work on to be a better friend, a better spouse, and a better person.
2. Respect others
Photo Credit: Epinym
It’s a simple fact: everyone deserves respect. Children deserve it. Elderly people have earned it. Anyone who looks different than we do, they also deserve it. Recognize that there is divinity, goodness, in everyone, and respect it.
3. Choose a role model
Photo Credit: Helmut Schadt
Is there someone in your life you feel is a good person? A ? An icon from our history? Then try to emulate them. Read their works. Realize they were also human, with downfalls and troubles and shortcomings, too.
4. Learn to say “I’m sorry”
When you’ve made a mistake, realize that the old adage is true, and it is indeed human to err. Apologize, ask for forgiveness, and forgive yourself, too. If possible, learn something from your mistake, and try not to repeat it.
5. Be patient
Photo Credit: naughtonlucy
In the world we live in today, everything is fast, quick, immediate. We want perfection, now, from ourselves and from others. Take a deep breath, slow down, and learn to be patient. Be especially patient with strangers in traffic, and be even more patient with children. Be patient with yourself too.
6. Give of yourself
Photo Credit: Emma Kinsella
Find a cause you believe in, and volunteer your time. Donate money if you can, but your time is even more valuable. The tickle of good you feel when you write a check is nothing compared to the joy you feel after serving a meal in a soup kitchen, or reading a book to a sick child, or listening to an elderly person share a story from their childhood.
7. Play and laugh
Children are sweet-natured and happy because their world is filled with play and laughter. Who says adults can’t play, too? Chase butterflies with your children, play hide and seek, swing on the swings. Lie in the grass and feel the warmth of the sun on your face, or bundle up and go for a nature walk in the snow. Learn silly jokes and share them with your kids. Laugh!
8. Spend time with the earth
Photo Credit: orangeacid
This may sound silly, but one way to be a better person is to spend more time with our earth. Plant a garden, and share your fresh fruits and veggies. Rake leaves and jump into them with your kids. Shovel the snow from a neighbor’s walk. Jump in rain puddles. Get your hands dirty. Look for bugs or adopt a cat. Collect shells on the beach. Spend time outside!
9. Do what you love
Photo Credit: knitting school dropout
If you can find your passion and pursue it, every day, and even better, make your living doing it, you’ll feel fulfilled and happy. It can be something small, like knitting or caring for pets, or something bigger, like being a nurse or a parent. But find something you love, something that you find rewarding, and throw yourself into it. If possible, share it, too!
10. Be grateful
Photo Credit: London Lens
It can be easy to fall into the trap of feeling sorry for ourselves. We don’t like our bodies, our jobs, our lives. We want a better car, a bigger house, a smaller butt. Instead, try to appreciate what you have! And if someone does a kindness, or helps you, thank them. And do your best not to look backwards; lose the baggage and look ahead! Being grateful, seeing the world for what you have, will make you feel happier, and make you a better, more loving person.
Try doing one of these each week or each month, and make an effort to continue it until it’s a habit, second nature. While you’re at it, stop using foul language (your mother will be happy!) and stop beating yourself up. Anything you can do will make you feel happier, and make you a much better person. What do you do when you’re trying to self-improve? What makes you happy? Please share with me!
Top Photo Credit: *Tiny Dancer*