Tuesday, 29 July 2014

9 Ways To Be A Better Person

I realised again that I’m falling into the trap of self-involvement and my own little whirlwind of drama and I know now that there is only one way in a drama whirlwind and that is down. I need to get myself out of this negative headspace and remember that I love myself and value myself enough to stop the negative spiralling. One way I find helpful is to set myself a bunch of goals that help better me as a person. I feel good about myself for achieving my goals and it gives me a great self-confidence boost. It also helps me to focus on where I want to be and help me steer myself away from the kind of person I no longer want to be.

I decided to do a bit of online reading and found a few self-help remedies here and thought I’d look through them and see how they worked for me.

According to lifehack.org, here are 9 ways to be a better person through self-development:

I took their points but added my own comments on each:

1.   Be Willing To Change

In this sense, they’re a little vague about being open to change. See if, like me, you want to become a better person then it involves change. You need to open yourself up to the fact that you may have habits or rituals or ways of thinking that may have served you in the past but are now detrimental to your growth and are outdated and no longer serve you but, rather, hold you back.

2.  Stop Making Excuses

This one is about taking responsibility for your actions. There comes a time in your life when you can no longer blame anyone for the way your life has turned out, unless you’ve been handcuffed in a basement since you were five, then well you have my permission to blame away.

On the other hand, if you have been an independent, adult who has the ability to think for yourself and make your own choices, then you only have yourself to blame if anything doesn’t turn out exactly as you’d hoped. Now this is a double-edged sword, do take responsibility for your life but don’t let it become an excuse for a pity party. Taking responsibility helps you avoid dragging out anything that went wrong and helps you to move on quickly and to see why you messed up and to make positive changes to avoid the same mistakes in future.

3.  Stop Being Angry

Now this is a real toughie for me. I am an angry person and I fly off the rails at almost anything these days. I’m still trying to figure out if it’s an issue of self-control, my hormones (making excuses?) or a bunch of unresolved issues I need to make peace with. I am not only angry, I’m teary, I’m depressed, I’m ecstatic, I’m worried, I’m an emotional mess but anger is something I have struggled with a lot in the past too so it’s definitely something worth tackling to help my life be a little less emotional and highly strung. I know this is going to take some patience and good harsh look at myself and my short comings and then some more patience.

4.  Be A Role Model

I honestly don’t have enough confidence in myself to be someone’s role model. I do get what they are getting at here though. The thinking behind this idea is that if you know someone is watching you, you tend to adjust your behaviour in a favourable way to avoid negatively influencing the person watching you. I feel like I still have a long way to go and to put the pressure of being someone else’s hero is setting myself up for failure. Instead, I have an idea. I shall try be my own role model. If I keep reminding myself I can see myself from both perspectives. That way I can get an introspective look at whether I’m on the right track or not. If I’m proud to be me to my past self then I’m on the right track. I do have glimpses of whether I feel like I’ve achieved something considerable or not and this just gives it a name and is a reminder keep checking.

5.  Forgive Someone

Again, this is one of those difficult ones. This point also goes back to previous points too. Forgiving myself is the biggest task to tackle. That is an ongoing process and takes a lot of introspection. I need to stop being my biggest critic and start being my biggest fan.

Forgiveness does not necessarily mean you condone someone’s behaviour, it only frees yourself from the pain of the anger you hold on to because of it. When you forgive someone you stop giving them your power by focusing your energy on them, instead you free yourself up to focus your energy on more productive things and on ways that make you happier and stronger. It is good to set boundaries and if people choose not to respect them, you can choose not to be around them.

Self-forgiveness in the same way stops you from constantly beating yourself up about things you’ve done or said in the past that have lead you to where you are now. I hold very high standards for myself that I almost always never live up to so it gives great fuel to my self-loathing fire. I need to re-evaluate my almost perfection standards and realise I am only human and can only achieve so much.

6.  Listen To People

This one I do often and find it is very interesting. It’s amazing the things people will tell you when you let them talk. Also I find it almost therapeutic for the people talking to get it all out. I guess we all live such busy lives that nobody actually sits and listens to us anymore. We’ve all become so busy that we can’t make time for friends. It’s been happening a lot to me lately I’ve noticed. I find people just start talking AT me rather than to me and it’s almost like I know instinctively to sit and listen to what they have to say. I don’t necessarily need to take it on or even take it in if I choose but just the fact that I’m there and listening, seems to make people feel a whole lot better for it.

7.  Be Honest

I often find myself in a white lie. I guess it’s my high standards I set for myself coming back to haunt me again. I feel like I haven’t done well enough so need to lie about it to other people as if they hold the same high standards for me as I do. There are also parts of myself I’d rather not share with people so I lie about them. A lot of the time I don’t even lie but omission is a form of lying too. I can say that I have also told some big lies too in order to avoid getting in trouble with loved ones. It’s easier to pretend like nothing’s wrong when you’re trying to figure things out than to have everybody’s opinion or input into your already muddled mind.

8. Do Something You Don’t Want To

This is a good way to find out what you’re made of. It also broadens your horizons and helps you figure out what you really do like and dislike. It helps challenge your idea of things versus what you actually think about them. Take food for example. The more food you try, the more food you start to enjoy. You pick up on more subtle textures and flavours and start to appreciate more. I used to hate avocado and thought it tasted like snot but now a little lemon juice, loads of salt and pepper makes for a creamy, refreshing, delicious topping on toast. If you don’t challenge your old ideas about everything, you’ll never realise you’ve changed or at least your tastes have. Perhaps they haven’t but you’ll never know unless you try something new.

9.  Surprise Someone Special

Surprises for me are always good in theory but I find extremely difficult to execute. Either I plan badly and fail to get the surprise in time, i.e. special prices for things expire or people’s birthday’s happen before I get myself organised. Or I faff so much with minor details I ruin the surprise. Doing nice things for people for me tend to be a case of the mind is willing but the body is weak (or lazy in my case). This is just me making excuses but yes it’s a good idea and something I should try to do more of to show those I love how much they mean to me.

I'm a big fan of making lists and I think it’s about time I set myself some goals and see how I do with those. They give me something to strive for and a measurable achievement that I can feel proud of. Of course, it’s a process and will take time.

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