50 Ways to be a Better Human Being
50 Ways to be a Better Human Being
In the world we live in, I have found that there are a lot of people out there who have gotten so caught up in the daily grind and the everyday struggles of life that they have forgotten what it is to be good to one another. And for this reason, I have created this list... 50 Ways to be a Better Human Being, because if we are all better to ourselves and others, the world will be a happier place for all of us.
50 Ways to be a Better Human Being - In no particular order...
- Make an effort to be more positive. Being negative all the time really is a choice, so try to make a different choice. Make the choice to be positive instead. When a negative thought pops into your head, make it a game to try to put a positive spin on it. It might be hard in the beginning, but eventually it will feel so natural.
- Smile more. You would be amazed at what a smile can do for someone.
- Volunteer. Helping others is a great thing to do, and you would be amazed at how good it makes you feel too.
- Donate. It doesn't matter what you donate, just donate! It could be donating food to a food bank, donating a toy to Toys for Tots, donating money to your favorite charities, or just donating your time. Giving to others is so rewarding, and think of all the people you will be helping! It's great!
- Be more giving to your loved ones. Stop thinking about what they do for you, and start thinking more about what you can do for them. Make them little gifts, give them an unexpected hug or back rub, put their favorite songs on when you're listening to music, and just make them feel special. It doesn't have to be something big, just something that says "I care." I like to color pages from coloring books and hang them on my roommate's door just to cheer her up. She loves it! I also send her little texts while she is at work with quotes from our favorite movies and songs. And I always make sure to surprise my boyfriend with little gifts and things. For example, he loves snowmen, so I always try to pick up little things with snowmen for him, like a cute snowman plushie from a craft sale or a mini snowman ornament from the cider mill. It always makes him happy.
- Choose love over hate. You may not like someone or something, but you should respect that it is on this Earth and that there may be good there somewhere that we just can't see. I know that I don't understand everything in this life, and there's no way that I can understand everyone's purpose here, but I know that making an effort to love every living thing on this Earth has made me much more compassionate, loving, and accepting. And that feels pretty amazing.
- Try not to be judgmental. None of us have all the answers, and none of us know the "right" path through life. All we can do is try our best and understand that everyone's decisions, beliefs, and feelings are not like ours.
- Be more open minded. I have an easy time having fun wherever I am because I am super open minded. I can have a blast at a country bar with a bull to ride and line dancing, and I can have a great time at a club that plays only the best house music around. I can sing along to Led Zeppelin and The Beatles just as well as I can sing along to Miley Cyrus and Britney Spears. I can find fun at a craft show, a carnival, a concert, a bar, a hookah lounge, an amusement park, a museum, a flea market, a sporting event, a hoe-down, a disco, a family gathering, a crazy college party, a music festival, an antique show, a Civil War re-enactment, a Sci-Fi convention, a fashion show, etc. Why? Because I keep an open mind and allow myself to enjoy it all.
- Be real. Nothing is worse than meeting someone and knowing that they are putting on a show, giving you what they THINK you want. Here's the truth... I want people to be real. I don't care if you have flaws... we all do! I do care about being deceived though, and if you're not being 100% real, you are deceiving people. Don't be fake... just be who you are!
- Accept who you are. I always tell my students "You are the best person you know, so you need to respect yourself and love yourself." I really believe this. If you can just accept who you are and what you want to be and worry less about what's "wrong" with you, you will be much happier, and therefore a better contributor to our world. So forget that your body doesn't look like Giselle's and that you aren't a mega-money maker like Bill Gates, and just embrace the things you do have! When you really start to look for the good things, you'll find that the good usually outweighs the bad.
"You are the best person you know..."
- Make an effort to "go green." It's becoming easier and easier these days, as "going green" has become quite trendy, but not only is it trendy... it's important. Why destroy this beautiful Earth? Let's do all we can to save it!
- Promote peace and love. It may sound like a hippie notion, but you don't have to be a hippie to want people to be good to one another.
- Choose to be non-violent. Use your brain instead of your fists. All violence does is hurt, and why would you want to hurt anyone? But at the same time, know that violence happens, and prepare yourself to protect and defend if need be. Taking a self-defense course or karate is great because they show you ways to protect and defend, but also instill in you the desire to not want to use what you've learned.
- Read inspirational things, spiritual things, and self-help things. It's amazing how much you can learn just from reading other people's thoughts and strategies.
- Do your best. Always. Whether it's at your job, in your home life, or just in your creative endeavors, don't ever say "this is good enough." It's not good enough unless it's the best you could do. And it doesn't matter where you work. If you work at McDonald's, make sure that you are friendly to the customers, that you are following all the guidelines for quality and cleanliness, and try to improve your efficiency daily. If you work at a school, go above and beyond your duties to make sure that the students are getting the best education possible. If you work in an office, make sure that you spend more time on your work and less on Facebook. Don't slack off! You will be a much better contributor to society and feel better about yourself if you do your best.
- Take care of your body. Believe it or not, physical and mental health are very important aspects of being a good person. If you put good food into your body, work out, and take time out to de-stress or grow spiritually, you will be a better person. If you feel your best, look your best, and are able to be focused and centered, there is no telling what you can do for others.
- Expand your horizons. If you don't know a lot about something, read a book, take a class, or learn from a friend. It's great to learn new things and have new experiences because it teaches you more about yourself, helps you to be more open minded (which we talked about earlier), and connects you with other people who you may have never had a chance to meet otherwise.
- Do something unexpected and nice for someone every once in a while. Pay for a stranger's toll at a toll booth, shovel the snow out of your neighbor's driveway in the morning before they go to work, leave an extra big tip for a good waiter or waitress, etc. Be creative and spontaneous!
- Have good manners. Hold doors for people, say excuse me when you burp, chew with your mouth closed, show respect for the elderly, and say please and thank you. So many of these things have gone out the window, and all it's doing is making our society uncultured, unmannered, and simply put: rude. So be a better person by having good social etiquette.
- It's simple, but true. "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." Or how about this one: "Treat others the way that you want to be treated." Sayings like these just make sense! Maybe you should follow their advice.
"Treat others the way that you want to be treated."
- Get out and have fun! If you keep yourself locked up in your house all the time, you're not contributing to society, you aren't expanding your horizons, and you're not becoming a better person... you're stagnating. So find some friends, go out, and enjoy yourself a little!
- Let people know how much you love them. It sounds cliché, but a long life is not guaranteed, so make sure that the people you love know it just in case there isn't another day after today to let them know.
- Along those same lines... live like you are dying. They say that people appreciate the little things in life more once they know that they are dying. Why can't we do that anyway? Be grateful for the things you have, enjoy your life, and live for today! As James Dean said "Dream as if you'll live forever, live as if you'll die today."
- Be a good friend. Good friends accept their friends for who they are, flaws and all. Good friends don't get caught up in the drama, but instead choose honesty over game playing. Good friends are friends who are always available, even if you haven't talked in 2 months. Good friends show respect, love, humor, and humility. And being a good friend is a good way to be a good person.
- Do nice things for your parents. Whether you get along or not, your parents gave you life. You wouldn't be here without them, so when you can, do something nice for them.
- Do what's right, even when it isn't popular. Inner strength and strong morals are important. But remember, what's right for you doesn't have to be what's right for someone else, so as you do what you think is right, don't put someone else down for doing what they think is right. Just do your thing, follow your heart, and "do the right thing..."
- Support local businesses and be more active in your community. Shop at local specialty stores, buy fruits and veggies from farmer's markets, attend community events and festivals, get involved with local schools, volunteer, and speak well of your community. Being a good community member definitely helps in becoming a better human being.
- Seek help when you need it. Some of us are just so afraid of looking stupid, weak, or inept, so we just don't want to accept help. But really, getting help from others shows humility and a willingness to learn and grow. These are good things!
- Turn bad life experiences into positive life lessons. Instead of being plagued by pain and regret, you can grow. Sometimes our worst experiences can teach us so much that we are then an inspiration to others. For example, I had a music teacher who told me that I was a horrible singer and I would never go anywhere with my singing. Instead of letting these words hurt me and drag me down, I made a promise to myself that I would prove her wrong. Now, I am a music teacher and a semi-professional singer who gets PAID to teach music, perform, and inspire. Want another example? How about a six year relationship filled with mental and emotional abuse and so many incidents of infidelity that it would make your head spin? I had one of those... and now I know how to be a better girlfriend, I know what to expect from a good boyfriend, and I know when enough is enough. Was the experience that taught me all of this painful? Yes. But I learned from it and grew as a person, so in the end... maybe it was worth it after all.
- Put safety first. Watch where you're going, be overly cautious when you drive, and don't leave things out in your home that could be dangerous to the other members of your household, pets, and/or guests. Accidents happen, but we can still try to prevent them.
"Put safety first..."
- Find ways to relax. If you have a lot of stress on your shoulders, you'll probably end up taking it out on others, and that just isn't fair. So listen to music, do yoga, meditate, have a glass of wine by the fireplace, or take a long bubble bath. Whatever you need to do to de-stress... do it!
- Be kind to animals. You don't have to be the leading advocate for PETA or anything, but you can still do your part. Break for animals while you're driving if possible, be a vegetarian or if you continue to eat meat, at least be grateful to the animals for their sacrifice, donate time and/or money to your local humane society or to the ASPCA, treat your pets with kindness and love, and buy products that are not tested on animals. Animals share this world with us, so if we are going to be better human beings, we have to be good to our animal friends.
- Find ways to do things better. (You're off to a good start with this list!) Whether it's being more efficient at the office or learning how to be a better cook for your family, always strive to do better.
- Do things around the house without being asked. This is especially important if you have roommates. Clean the living room, do the dishes, do some laundry, take out the trash, pay your rent AHEAD of time, rake the leaves, clean up your messes or those made by your friends, and offer help if it looks like one of your roommates needs it.
- Use the internet for good, not evil. Send e-mails and e-cards to your friends and family, post pictures of you and your friends having a great time, leave silly messages on people's Facebook walls, contribute to online communities like Squidoo and ehow.com, leave positive comments on blogs you enjoy, and just overall... do good things. Don't use twitter as your personal rumor mill, don't write ignorant, rude comments to people you don't know just because you'll "never ACTUALLY meet them," and don't hack, spam, or harass.
- Hug more. Physical touch is an important part of human interaction. Allow yourself to hug more and BE hugged more.
- Work harder to understand other people's lives, ideas, beliefs, or problems. If your friend suddenly has to be on a gluten-free diet for health reasons, do some research and find ways to make the transition easier on them. The people in your life will be so grateful that you took the extra effort, and you will be a better person for it.
- Admit when you're wrong. It happens to everyone, so don't be so stubborn and just own up to it!
- Apologize more. If you are in someone's way at the grocery store, if you accidentally step on someone's foot, if you take a long time to order your food, apologize to the people around you being affected. Can they wait? Yes. Can they be forgiving? Yes. But by apologizing first, you will make it easier on them to do these things.
- "Forget regret, or life is yours to miss." -RENT, Jonathan Larson
Regrets do nothing but weigh us down. They keep us from being as happy or as productive as we would like to be. So forget regret... instead, continually move forward and keep learning and growing.
"Forget Regret, or Life is Yours to Miss..." -RENT, Jonathan Larson
- Be a lifelong learner. This doesn't mean that you need to go back to college every years (though you can if you want to) but at least make the effort to continually learn new things. Whether it's from taking a class, reading a book, learning from life's experiences, or just playing new trivia board games that teach you random facts, be a life long learner.
- Learn how to be a good public speaker. More people in America are afraid of public speaking than they are of death, so if you become a better public speaker, you are automatically becoming a better, stronger, more inspiring person because you will be able to do something well that so many people fear.
- Let others be who they are. Let's face it, there are lots of people out there who are different from you. This world is full of people of different ethnicities, different cultures, different lifestyles, different religious beliefs, different sexualities, and different interests. Whatever. Different strokes for different folks. You don't have to do it yourself, just deal with it.
- Lighten up! Most things in life are pretty comical if you just let them be.
- Choose your battles wisely. Bickering is stupid. Does it really matter all that much in the grand scheme of things if the toilet paper isn't put on the roll correctly or if the dvds aren't in alphabetical order? No. Trust me. It doesn't.
- Let others tell you their story. It's amazing how much you can gain from hearing others tell you about their lives. Plus, by letting people be open with you and share with you, you are offering the world a great service that many nowadays are just "too busy" to provide.
- Put your children first. I don't have children yet, but I am a teacher, and I have to say... you can easily tell which students come from homes where they are the top priority and which ones don't. The ones who are top priority at home know how to behave, are usually more advanced in reading and writing (from hours of bedtime stories no doubt), and have better self-esteem because they know that they are loved. If you want to be a better person, and help the world to be filled with other good people, then make sure that you put your children first. Show them what it is to be a good person and help them to learn, grow, and thrive in the world.
- Be humble. You may be a great person, but there are lots of great people out there. There is a big difference between confidence and arrogance. Learn the difference.
- Don't be a sore loser... or a sore winner. Just enjoy yourself. No one likes it when people mope and complain when something doesn't go their way, just as people don't like it when you rub awards, prizes, and successes in their faces.
- Follow the advice on this list, but also look inside and figure out what else you can do to make yourself better. No one knows you better than you do, and in the end, the only one who can make you better IS you.
"The only one who can make you better IS you."
I hope this list helps you on your journey to becoming a better human being. Use what you will from it and interpret it how you will. I don't have all the answers, but I do like to think that I have something to offer others in this area because I personally strive to be better every day. I know I am not perfect, and I never will be, but I will do my best to continually get better, grow, and be a worthwhile human being to know.