It's important to love yourself (if you don't, how can someone else, right?). Whether it seems cheesy or not, it's actually pretty true, as if you radiate self-confidence, it'll naturally draw people in, too. Plus, there are ways to become a better person, so if you're looking for ways to improve or change a few nasty habits, you easily can. Who knows? That might make all the difference. It's also worth noting that while self-acceptance and self-worth should be honored, you should also be thinking of ways you can be better, as well as learn from mistakes and take cues from others.
As a certified health coach, I work with clients on feeling purposeful and self-assured, but we also discuss the ways to always keep improving and being the best person they can be. What's more, relationships are tricky, and sometimes you might mess up. When you do, it's a good idea to ask what you did wrong, how you can fix it and learn for next time, and then practice those skills to reinforce the positive behavior. With time, you'll find ways to stick with these changes and become the better person you always wanted to be. Here are 9 ways to be a better person.
1. Read More
"My entire life is dedicated to helping people become better and I can tell you that most foolproof way to become a better person is to read more," says James Pollard, a financial counselor, over email with Bustle. "You can simply download a book or go to your local bookstore and learn about any subject you want. If you want to become a better leader, there are leadership books. If you want to become a better lover, there are books for that (with pictures, no less). Reading more is the easiest way to dramatically improve your life," Pollard explains.
2. Learn Self-Awareness
If you can master self-awareness, where you're in tune with your thoughts and behaviors, as well as how they can influence your relationships, then you can easily start being a better person with each move you make, explains life coach Rene Rannamägi, over email with Bustle. Take note of your actions (you can even write them down, if that helps).
3. Get Enough Sleep
Those zzz's are super important, not just for getting rest. "People who aren't getting enough sleep typically suffer emotionally and mentally—they can be more irritable, more forgetful, even appear less attractive to others. But when we get quality sleep, and we get enough of it, all of those qualities are improved and enhanced," says Kelsey Down, family wellness writer for SleepTrain over email with Bustle. "We develop more patience, more awareness of ourselves and others, and more mental capacity for daily tasks. Plus we come across as more attractive to our peers," Down adds.
4. Be Trustworthy
Can't keep a secret? You're probably not viewed as a great friend, then. According to Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW, NYC based counselor, over email with Bustle, "when told something in confidence, do not share the information with anyone, even your partner." Think about it: "It is difficult to be vulnerable and share problems with others. When someone is able to open up to you, it is important to not break their trust," Hershenson adds.
5. Offer Support To People You Care About
To be a good person to others, you need to be there for the good and bad, giving unconditional support. "Giving a friend or family member a call or shooting them a text to see how they are doing sometimes without even sharing your own personal issues allows you to be completely available to others," says Hershenson. What's more, "listening to others' problems and lending an ear is a good way to 'get out of your head' and lets the person know you are fully present to listen to them," Hershenson adds.
6. Be Accountable
Don't flake or lie; show up if you said you'd be there; don't get defensive when guilty. For example, "if you say or do something wrong, apologize. If someone is upset with you, talk it out without getting defensive. Acknowledge what your part was (even if it was simply upsetting your friend) and discuss what you could do differently in the future," says Hershenson.
7. Express Gratitude
According to career coach and author of The Wall Street Professional's Survival Guide, Roy Cohen, over email with Bustle, "you show your true colors when you reach out to folks and don't thank them for their time and interest. Even if the advice they offer is of no help, it was still offered unconditionally." Likewise, "it is the same as when you receive a mediocre gift. You always thank the giver regardless as to whether or not you like the gift, as it's the right thing to do. Expressing gratitude takes little time and shows these folks that you appreciate the effort they made," Cohen explains.
8. Keep A Journal
This isn't like a grocery list. Your journal will be private, holding your intimate thoughts, as a place where you can vent and find inspiration and relief. Specifically, journaling can make you a better person by freeing you from the past. By expressing your feelings and writing them down, you're letting them go, and you can move in to being a healed, happy person.
9. Be More Responsible
Time to start better monitoring your bank account and working on your career goals. As you get older, it's important to take all the "adult" responsibilities seriously, to stay in control, to become more successful, and to stay less stressed (so you don't randomly start yelling at friends or your coffee barista). By being more level-headed and prepared, you'll become a better person and demonstrate more stability towards others.
By implementing these lifestyle changes, you're bound to find small (and large) improvements in your life and in your relationships. There's no reason not to keep working on yourself, to become whomever you want to be.