Sometimes we make personal growth more complicated than it needs to be. The following tips can help make your life flow more effortlessly and meaningfully – and increase the moments of joy and fulfillment you experience each week. Here are four ways to instantly become a better person.
And, yes, these methods actually work.
1. Victim No More
Who knows why we get in our own way?
- Maybe we were unconsciously influenced by our early childhood caretakers.
- Maybe we absorbed some unfortunate habits from our modern culture.
Does it really matter why?
What matters most is that we choose to stop sabotaging our own happiness.
And the best way I know to do that is to take personal responsibility for everything happening to you.
When spending time with other people, I encourage you never again to play the martyr.
Martyring is an unconscious way to control others by reflexively ramping up your suffering for dramatic effect.
The secret pay-off to martyring is that it temporarily dispels anxiety and provides a distraction – keeping you from having to look honestly at yourself, so your ego can keep running the show, and the rest of your psyche doesn’t have to grow or change.
It’s weak sauce.
2. A Better Person Says Goodbye to Micromanaging
Unless you’re an employer dealing with an actual employee, you shouldn’t be bossing other adults around:
- Why are you lasering in on other people’s choices and circumstances?
- Wouldn’t that focus be better spent on yourself?
It’s a good idea never to insinuate yourself into other people’s situations – unless, that is, someone specifically and directly asks you for advice. (And let’s face it, how often does that happen? Rarely.)
Keep your side of the street clean, okay?
3. A Better Person Stops Making It All About Themselves
Do you feel frustrated, bored, or anxious when you’re in a room with other people, and it goes more than five minutes without being about you?
Okay, that’s valid.
But please resist the temptation to pull focus.
The solution is to start experimenting with healthier ways to metabolize anxiety without sucking all the oxygen out of the room or stealing the stage.
What are those solutions specifically?
Each person has to find their own.
Maybe it’s a gratitude journal; maybe it’s lifting weights. Maybe it’s improving your diet; maybe it’s talk therapy. Maybe it’s dancing naked in your living room every morning from 5:00 to 5:20 am. Maybe it’s all of those things and more.
I don’t know. I’m not you.
But solutions are out there, and you’re smart and creative enough to find them.
4. Listen More Than You Talk
Look, I get it. Talking, for many people, is a form of affection. That’s cool.
But if you want to become a wise, centered, and soulful person, at some point, you will have to develop the skill of active listening.
It’s not as difficult as you might think.
In fact, the more you practice it, the easier it gets.
Until finally, it’s a relief.
Instead of thinking about what you’ll say next, you simply listen.
It won’t just be healing for other people, it will be healing for you, too.
And, in time, they will ask you specific questions about yourself.
If they never get around to being deeply curious about you, then why the heck are you hanging around with narcissists? (See #1 above.)
When you leave a room or conversation, ask yourself, “Did I listen more than I talked?”
Be honest with yourself. If the answer is that you talked more than you listened, there’s no need to be ashamed.
Don’t be proud of it, either.
Simply resolve, next time, to listen more than you talk. And follow through with it.
The Truth About Becoming a Better Person
People will say that they’ve changed.
But most people don’t change. Not really.
To authentically become a better person, you must go downstream and identify the secret pay-offs for behaving in ways that keep you from being happier.
Then, you have to experiment with finding new thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors that move you toward better feelings.
It’s not as arduous as it sounds.
In fact, the more success you have with it, the more fun it becomes.