It seems fair to say that the majority of us are probably trying to do our best in most areas of life. Whether it’s parenting, jobs, relationships or just life overall — we get through each day with some successes and failures and hope that it all nets out on the positive side in the end. But we also have those moments when we feel like we should really work harder on becoming a better person.
Self-improvement can seem like a never-ending process. There is always something that we need or want to improve on. However, being the best person you can be isn’t the same as looking your best. It’s not about getting a promotion or achieving straight A’s.
It’s a more altruistic effort focused on both your internal satisfaction with yourself as well as your impact on those around you. And it can mean different things to different people.
The desire to be “better” can be driven by many things. People who are fortunate in life may have a need to help those less fortunate or someone whose friends or family have sacrificed for them may feel a need to repay that kindness. Or, for some, it’s a realization that they have been living in a selfish and self-centered way and have regrets.
Whatever the reason you feel inspired to be a better version of yourself, you need to realize that it isn’t a matter of checking a box or one specific act — it’s a process.
It’s also not something that someone does for you. Feeling like you are the person you want to be doesn’t come from external sources. It’s driven by you, your behavior, and how those behaviors make you feel about yourself.
So, what kind of things do you need to do to become a better person? While there isn’t a specific formula, there are certain things that will put you on the right path.
1Recognize where you can change
Whether it’s bad habits or a bad attitude, we all have things that we could change that will improve the person we are. Improving yourself means growing as a person and growth takes change before it can manifest.
Don’t expect that efforts you make will result in changes overnight though, and know that there will be setbacks. One of the keys to successfully making changes of any kind is to learn from failures and missteps and persevere.
2Learn to let go of anger
People underestimate the impact of anger on their lives. Even residual anger from things in your past will take a toll on your health and the positive impact you can have on those around you.
It can be very difficult to manage anger and truly let go of it. Doing so, however, will improve your outlook and happiness. It will feel like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders. This also won’t be an immediate change. Although things like meditation and the support of friends can help, going to a counselor may be best to consider as well.
Some of you are saying, “duh,” but think about this one carefully. It’s one thing not to lie, but living honestly means more than that. Living honestly means being honest with yourself about yourself, showing integrity, and doing the right thing – even when no one will know if you don’t.
4Volunteer for the tough things
There are always things that need to be done that no one wants to do. Well, someone has to do them – might as well be you, at least some of the time. The bigger point here is that taking on tough tasks rather than avoiding them is not only necessary, and makes a positive impact, but is ultimately personally rewarding.
5Give of yourself
The most immediate way to feel like you are becoming the person you would like to be is to do things that make a difference. This may be volunteering somewhere, going out of your way to help a friend or making time for someone who needs you.
See Also: The Power of Volunteering
Making improvements in yourself and in your life can be tough, but it is always worth the effort. And wanting to be a better person doesn’t mean you were a bad person to begin with. It’s just that you have a healthy desire to grow. Whatever your reasons and whatever pathway you choose, just keep in mind that positive changes take time.
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Author: Dr. Kurt Smith
Dr. Kurt Smith is the Clinical Director of Guy Stuff Counseling & Coaching, a Northern California counseling practice that specializes in helping men and the women who love them. His expertise is in understanding men, their partners, and the unique relationship challenges couples face today. Dr. Kurt is a lover of dogs, sarcasm, everything outdoors, and helping those seeking to make their lives and relationships better.