Have you ever wondered if you were a terrible person? Here are tips on how to not be one!
I am not a terrible person. I am not a perfect person by any means, but I am not awful. I am overly self-critical and can tell you everything about what I do wrong in life. I can tell you where I screw up time and time again. Where I know I am not the perfect person, I am pretty decent. I do some cool stuff and have done some meaningful things for others in my world. I like to think, in general, I am a pretty swell fellow.
At the same time, I have been awful in the past. Whether because of immaturities or because at a certain time I was a downright addict asshole, I have done some things that required me to check who I was and who I wanted to be. It is natural to want to improve. I’ve improved quite a lot and, in turn, learned what the process of self-improvement can resemble.
If you are looking for the opportunity to improve or become better, here are some of the things you can do. Through my existing experiences of necessary self-growth, here are the lessons I learned. What I like to think are a few key ingredients to not being a terrible person.
Tell the Truth
Simple yes. A basic thought drilled into us from the age of children, yet, something we are much worse at than we like to admit. Currently, I think it stems from social media and the way our world has changed. We are so used to always putting our best foot forward for the sake of the people around us we want to impress. The result is we have begun telling minor lies and fibs to save face. By constantly putting ourselves under a microscope where we are being judged by our peers, we lose some capabilities to feel like being flawed is normal.
Secret, it really is okay to not be perfect.
Don’t save face. Rip off your mask your mask and show the ugly person you are. Show off your flaws. Live in a world where the truth is a mandatory thing for yourself and your relationships. Be brutally honest and make sure everyone knows you value the act of honesty. Do not give yourself the chance to conceal or lie.
In the beginning, it can hurt to tell the truth, especially if you have hidden this concept in the past. Once you let the truth out, things become much better for everyone. The world becomes much easier once you begin a cycle where you to stop hiding the truth and instead move forward unafraid of being vulnerable with your pieces. Telling the truth, especially if you have been hiding things, is a process. By allowing yourself to adopt the habit of being honest, you will find yourself slowly becoming a better person.
Learn How to Care For Yourself
Grooming is important. Self-care is important. Cleaning up your messes is important. Learn how to care for yourself. Sometimes this means you are going to be the master at what you do. I like polishing my shoes as a means of practicing the habit of caring for my possessions. At the same time, I cannot trim my beard, so my lovely barber Tina does this. I have learned what I can take care of and what I cannot.
It is about more than aesthetics or basics of self care, however. It comes down to life. If you cannot learn healthy ways to fix your deeper-rooted problems, maybe you can consult a psychiatrist or a support group as a means of addressing them. If you do not know how to have healthy relationships, look for a coach. If you are bad about your health, see a doctor and consult a personal trainer. We can all do certain things for ourselves, other times, we do not know how to care for our emotional, mental, or physical needs.
Find the people who will help you compensate for areas where you are lacking in self care. You do not have to be perfect, but you need to take care of yourself. You cannot do everything but don’t let this be an excuse. You do not need to be alone in your improvement.
Figure Out your Vices, Then Figure out the Causes
We all engage in one vice or the other. Sometimes it is worse than others. For me, my vices are addiction, obsession, and a compulsive need for approval. I know these, great. I have spent time mired in them and seen their after effects. Now here is the thing. It is not enough for you to identify your vices. Figuring out your vices is only the first step to becoming a better person.
Great people are also capable of determining what causes their vices. Knowing you have vices is one thing. Figuring out what causes them is a whole other feat. When we know our vices, we can attempt to avoid them but unless we address their root causes, we are setting ourselves up for failure. It is not enough to know what you do wrong as a means of preventing this behavior. Figure out why you do what you do wrong in the first place and address that behavior instead.
The end results when you acknowledge the reasons behind your vices are you stop doing terrible things to other people because vices rarely just impact us. If you only address behaviors and not causes, you are simply pulling the top of a weed that will grow back and take over other areas of your life. Go to the root. Dig it out.
Understand Everyone is Not You
I love when people get offended. Even more so, I love when people get offended about people getting offended. I have a high school friend who is a staunch Republican. They constantly post about how offended liberals are. But you know what? It is their right to be offended by how offended liberals are. It is also the liberals right to be offended by whatever offended them that offended her.
Think of it this way. We barely know each other, but if you come to my house, go to my fridge and without asking, eat my food and drink a beer, I would not be offended. These types of things do not bother me. For some I know, this would be a grave matter of offense. Which of us is right?
Neither. It is our world, our space, and our right to be offended or not. Just like our minds. We all come from diverse backgrounds with divergent opinions of how life should be conducted. What might bother or irk you does nothing to me. This makes neither of us right or wrong. It makes us human.
You are not everyone, and everyone is not you. If you do not understand why someone has a certain viewpoint, if you do not get what is causing someone to act a certain way, if you are perplexed by another’s peculiarities, ask them why. We do not always get where people come from, so do not get mad, just ask. Even if their answer or explanation is not for you, it’s okay. It’s not your life they are living. And if someone’s decisions impact you so much it bothers you, cut them out. In very few matters should we ever allow someone else’s perceptions to ruin our life. Not everyone is us, and we shouldn’t expect them to be.
Have a Sense of Humor
Christopher Hitchens said the last people we should ever elect to any government position were those without a sense of humor. I agree with him but about more. People without a sense of humor suck.
Now I understand not everything is funny. I get sometimes you are not going to want to laugh at things. I understand, many times, you might not enjoy the joke. Other times, you might be the thing that needs to be laughed at, which is a painful thought. I get it is intimately difficult to laugh at yourself, especially in situations where you might have done something foolish, and your face burns red.
Within a reasonable set of circumstances, have a sense of humor. Not all the time. Not everything is humorous. But not everything is always serious. There are times and places for everything. And laughter, it is not just medicine. It is an element of the human soul. Let yourself be human. Laugh. Let yourself laugh.
These are just a few of my general points for not being a terrible human. Most of all, the overarching theme of what I see when I think about self-improvement is this: Be willing to grow.
None of us is perfect. We can all become better versions of ourselves. We can always improve, so never give up on giving yourself a chance. The world will thank you for the times you engage in the chance to grow.
And most of all, never forget, no matter how messy things might become, no matter how terrible you might feel about yourself, you are still a beautiful person with unique complexities. Give yourself a little leeway. Don’t murder your mind and heart in beating yourself up for past mistakes. Give yourself the chance to get better. Because most of us, we are not all that terrible, and for most of us, with a little work, we can be great. We and the world deserve giving ourselves a chance to become the best versions of ourselves.