101 Ways to Be a Good Human Being
During the search for deeper wisdom and understanding, many of us ponder "What can I do to be a better person, what is the purpose of my life?".
I truly believe that we all come here for the same purpose - and that is to find our purpose and to find meaning in life. In a world that loves to make us feel isolated, afraid and to show us the worst in humanity; I feel it's important to explore the ways we can become better people, from the simplest of acts to the most profound levels of self-awareness.
So here they are - 101 pieces of wisdom; tips for being a better person to yourself and others. Take what resonates with you, act on them and see what happens.
Self-Love & Respect
- Be what you want to see in others.
- Concern yourself more with fixing your own shortcomings than pointing them out in other people.
- Embrace change and seek out opportunities - it's how you grow.
- Be enthusiastic about life. It helps you and it's contagious.
- Respect yourself by taking time to focus on your health and well-being. Your body is a gift, treat it with honor.
- Exercise daily. Whether it's a vigorous heart pounding workout, or simply going for a walk after dinner, give your body exercise every single day. It is the greatest act of respect you can show the body you've been given.
- Don't belittle others to boost your own ego.
- Embrace your flaws and shortcomings. We all have them, you can allow them to define you and hold you back, or accept them as a challenge to grow through.
- Understand your self-worth. Every human being has value and all contribute something - even if it's an example of what not to do!
- Love yourself enough to free yourself from addictions and bad habits. They do not provide the peace they promise and only contribute to further suffering by you and those around you.
- Learn from your mistakes instead of making excuses.
- Leave well enough alone; let things be good enough. Perfectionism is a dream killer disguised as discipline, but in the end it only masks a fear of failure that keeps people from giving their dreams a real shot.
- Know the type of person you want to be - really, deeply understand this and then do things each day that move you in that direction.
- Accept constructive criticism, even when it's unsolicited. You don't have to agree with it, but listening with an open mind can help you approach yourself, your work and your life in new ways.
- Accept genuine compliments. Compliments are an act of kindness given to you from others who have taken the time to appreciate your value. When you blow it off, it diminishes you and the person who paid the compliment.
- Forgive without forgetting. You can release toxic relationships with those who don't have your best interests at heart, but do it from a place of forgiveness.
- Let go of anger. It only poisons the one who carries it.
- Learn humility. Your true greatness shines through your actions not your words. Those who have to boast about their achievements often suffer from feelings of inferiority. Be proud, but not loud.
- Have a sense of purpose. Great ideas and intentions are fine, but purpose is the power that allows you to manifest your goals.
- Apologize. If you are wrong - own it. Don't make excuses or justifications, simply say "I am truly sorry, please forgive me".
- Be Authentic. You are you. You don't owe anyone any explanations, nor is it your job to live your life according to what others want from you. Exercise the precious right of freedom that not all are lucky enough to have.
- Don't be a victim. Those with victim mentalities tend to remain held back. If someone wrongs you, feeling victimized is normal and understandable, but don't remain stuck there. Get up and grow, it's the best form of "revenge".
- Let it go. Don't trip over the trivial in life. If what is troubling you now won't be a problem a day, week or even a month from now - don't waste precious time on it.
- Eat well. A body that is properly fueled and not run down processing garbage is a body that will serve you well over time.
- Enjoy indulgences, but be mindful of what a "treat" really is. Ice cream twice a year is a treat, once a week or every day is not. A real treat is rare and joyful.
- Sing. Throughout cultures and history, music is a universal celebration of life. Even if you can't sing well, wait until you're alone in the shower or in the car and let it rip. Music is an expression of the heart and soul, so sing like there's no tomorrow whenever you can.
- Dance. Every person should move their body to music. Dance is another universal form of expression that has been used throughout the ages. It frees the spirit and brings joy and is a very natural act.
- Cook an amazing meal from scratch. No cans or boxes allowed! Craft a meal from the pure basics just as our ancestors did. It will give you a new appreciation for modern conveniences we take for granted while also fueling the body with pure, simple food.
- Visualize and dream. Those who have dreams and things to look forward to are happier, more motivated people.
- Explore. Perhaps you feel exploration means traveling to new and exotic locations, but most people can find new places very close to home. Find a museum, park or other attraction you've never visited and have a spontaneous adventure.
- Wonder. As children we are infinitely curious and full of questions. Embrace that spirit and never lose that curiosity.
- Grow Something. Whether it's a full garden or a house plant, nothing connects us to life more meaningfully than participating in the process. Plant anything - and grow and tend to it regularly.
- Participate in nature. Plant a garden, work on conservation projects or do anything that connects you with the planet that sustains your life.
- Be creative. Everyone is creative by nature. Whether it's artistic skill, the ability to tell a fascinating story, or even how you think about the world around you. Exercise your creativity in whatever form; it is how you leave your unique mark on others and the world around you.
- Educate yourself. Read the ingredient labels and package inserts. Know what you are putting into your body and never trust anyone's authority blindly. No one is infallible and doctors make mistakes. Know your own body and be conscious of what you are doing to it, with it and for it. Practice discernment.
- Don't live in the past. Those who remain stuck in the past can't make the most of their current and future potential.
- Don't live only for the future - or you miss out on the joy of today.
- Be organized. Clutter leads to chaos and chaotic thinking leads to cluttered, unstructured daily life. While it's detrimental to be too uptight about everything, it's equally so to not have structure at all. Organization helps everything in life flow more smoothly.
- Be self-aware and be mindful where your thoughts go. A mind left to its own devices completely unchecked can be a dangerous place. Those who practice mindfulness are better able to tame the inner critic and to direct their energies in more positive ways.
- Practice meditation or mindfulness - it's how to detach from the clutter of the mind and get in touch with your true inner nature. It also relieves stress, improves health and promotes inner peace.
- Practice detachment. This doesn't mean become unfeeling, but learn to distance yourself enough to recognize the transient nature of life and gain more objectivity.
- Accept fears are a part of life, but don't give into them. Don't wait for them to go away either, because that never happens. Acknowledge them, then work around them.
- Be adventurous and willing to push yourself outside of comfort zones and the world will open up to you.
- Develop a hobby to its fullest potential.
- Know when to walk away in life. Not everything is worth fighting for.
- Give up beliefs and ideas that undermine your self-esteem. We live in a world that wants to belittle every person. It's good for agendas and profits, but not so much for the soul.
- Be honest with yourself about how much you are actually swayed by outside influences like the media. We all are to varying degrees. Recognizing this is the key to greater understanding and liberation.
Genuine Love and Respect for Others
- Live authentically and encourage others to do likewise. Appreciate them for who they are and they will be more confident in being themselves.
- Learn to listen without talking. If you are thinking about your reply as others are opening up to you - you are not as good at listening as you think.
- Explore other cultures and ideas. It will broaden your horizons, enrich your life and promote greater understanding.
- Laugh a lot - but never at the expense of others, it's hurtful.
- Set appropriate boundaries and keep them by being assertive, but not aggressive.
- Practice random acts of kindness freely without expecting anything in return.
- Be involved in your community. Know what is going on and what you can do to help if needed.
- Consider how your actions impact others, even in small ways. For example, those who wear strong perfume in public may not realize that they are causing other people's allergies or asthma to act up. Be courteous and considerate of others, moderating any habits that might negatively impact those around you. Respect shared spaces.
- Don't impose on others. Call in advance if you know your friend or loved one doesn't like surprises. Most people are gracious, but not always fond of unannounced guests that suddenly change their plans or routine. Make plans in advance and keep them.
- Avoid the temptation to buy into stereotypes or judge a book by its cover. Everyone has their own story.
- Judge individuals solely by "the content of their character" and avoid the various "isms" - racism, sexism, ageism, etc.
- Be generous - give whatever you have, not just money - your time, energy, enthusiasm, love - give freely and often. It's the best way to connect with others.
- Look for something beautiful to appreciate in every person you encounter for an entire day. See how it shifts your perspective.
- Smile more and be genuine about it. You're giving a gift to another who may need it more than you realize.
- Say thank you!
- Be conscious of others and their contributions; don't take them for granted.
- Instead of pointing out someone's flaws or being critical, tell them what you admire and respect the most about them.
- Never go to bed angry with those around you, settle your differences right away.
- When you take something, give something in return even if it isn't expected.
- Don't make excuses for others. Be compassionate, but never be complacent or enabling of bad habits or choices.
- Don't justify poor behavior towards another. No matter how much they may have "had it coming", an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind. Be the bigger person and lead by example.
- Learn to be tolerant of others within reason. If their actions do not impact you directly, live and let live.
- Get off your moral high horse and know that all humans are here to have their own experiences and learn in their own way. Those who think they are right at the expense of others create far more problems in the world than they solve.
- Consciously work to set a good example wherever you go.
- Set proper examples for children. Don't tell your child not to lie and then let them see you doing it and justifying it. It sends mixed signals.
- Practice mutual respect in all relationships.
- Don't withhold affection. This passive aggressive form of emotional manipulation and abuse has been known to sabotage many relationships.
- Surprise your significant other for no reason. Bring flowers to your wife because she's beautiful, not because it's Valentine's day. Express gratitude to your husband for all he contributes to the home and family. These simple expressions enhance and cement strong bonds.
- Tell others what you need. Mean what you say and say what you mean. It is not fair to expect others to read your mind or know what you expect. Be forthcoming.
- Focus more on what is right about you than on any perceived shortcomings and then extend that courtesy to others.
- Be gentle with both self and others. You draw more flies with honey than vinegar.
- Lend a shoulder. When others are suffering, don't offer platitudes, offer yourself. "I'm so sorry for your loss. If you need to talk call me" goes a long way towards helping others heal.
- Learn the art of debate. Debate is a conversation where people can disagree respectfully and still learn from one another. It is not an argument; it is not a need to be "right". It is participation with others and a willingness to learn, not just be heard. Those who can debate (not argue or manipulate) are the ones who can change hearts, minds and ultimately the world through sound dialogue.
- Don't jump on bandwagons. Speak truth to power and be discerning. Not everything that is a social norm is "right". Those who stand up for fundamental truths win in the end. It was this willingness that brought about things like civil rights.
- Be courageous. Many times the right thing isn't the easiest thing. Own up to your mistakes and speak out when you see others being wronged.
- Be fair. Don't seek unfair advantages or use others for your own purposes. "It's just business" is a flimsy justification for poor behavior.
- Trust others - not blindly, but give them the benefit of the doubt. Most humans are decent, loving and hard working. Paranoia cripples the human spirit. Turn off the violence on TV and go out into the world where you can work on establishing trust in humans again.
- Be honest without the brutality. People who brag about being "brutally honest" tend to relish in the bullying more than the honesty. You can be direct, honest and still conscientious and respectful.
- Avoid condescending attitudes and people. Society often looks down upon those who are poor, homeless, those on public aid, or who work "menial" jobs etc. These people are contributing to society, and often doing so by working long hours in thankless jobs. Take time to be courteous to all people - you don't know their story and have no right to judge.
- Don't gossip. Gossip, especially the kind that is unfounded, is hurtful to others and should be avoided like the scourge it is. You wouldn't want people to discuss the very private matters in your life behind your back. Extend the same courtesy and when others engage in it, walk away.
- Your beliefs are yours alone. Accept that your path and values are not shared by everyone. If something offends you, turn it off or disengage. It is sad to live in a world where people can be murdered for simply saying something another deemed offensive.
- Share your knowledge with others. Everyone has an area where they have unique understanding and experience. Knowledge is power and by sharing what you know you leave a positive mark on the world.
- Be dependable. If someone is counting on you show up on time and keep your promises.
- Let go of the need for a false sense of control over others. The one and only person you control is you. Trying to get people to do what you want, or to manipulate circumstances in your favor provides only a false sense of control. True power is in learning to be the captain of your own ship regardless of what goes on around you.
- Be willing to be vulnerable. It can be difficult to be open in this manner; it's human nature to avoid pain and guard ourselves, but opening up about our frailties allows us to establish a genuine, human connection with others. We empathize with those who have struggled. Pain is not a sign of weakness or failure, it is a natural, shared part of human experience.
- Volunteer! It is the single greatest gift of yourself you can give to others and a great way to express your humanity. Find a worthy cause and get behind it.
There you have it 101 tips to improve as a human. Can you think of any I missed? feel free to share your insights in the comments.
Thanks fellow humans for reading this far. I hope it has brought some inspiration to your day.
Positive psychology focuses a great deal on becoming strong, self-realized human beings. When we do this, we subconsciously give those around us permission to set themselves free and do the same thing. Like the graphic above, positivity has a ripple effect. I highly recommend learning more about positive psychology.
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© 2015 Christin Sander
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