7 ways to be a decent, more evolved & just overall better person

How to be a better person

You’re a grown-up in a first-world country who’s self-aware enough to know you can always be improving. In case you need some inspiration, here are a handful of ways you can do just that.

Go out of your way to help someone. It takes so, so little to earn a few karma points by helping someone out. Whether it’s by holding the door extra long for a stranger overloaded with bags, patiently showing your co-worker how to do something on the computer (even if it’s so obviously simple to you), or making dinner for a friend or family member who’s having a hard time… you get the idea. It feels good—for you and them. Restore someone’s faith in humanity and feel their gratitude wash over you.

Get out of your comfort zone. Go to a yoga class alone. Figure out the public transportation system. Apply to a job you’re not confident about getting. Try cooking a vegetarian dish. The worst that can happen is you burn perfectly good tempeh or end up on the wrong side of town. Most likely, though, you’ll have new talent, knowledge, or experiences you’ll be proud of—and one less thing to be afraid of.

Show up when you say you’re going to show up. I have been soooo guilty of doing just the exact opposite on multiple occasions. It happens. Things come up, situations change, or you just plain don’t feel like doing something. But really, if you say you’re going to be somewhere, for the love of cheesecake, be there. It ruins your credibility when you don’t, and it’s irritating to everyone else. (Even those nice folks who say, “Don’t worry about it!”) If you know you’re likely to flake and bail, don’t say you’ll go in the first place. It’s not that hard to say no, and you won’t have that icky, guilty feeling you get when you hide behind the “sorrrryyyy” text message.

Call people out on their shit…nicely. It might seem to go against the message behind this post, but it’s especially important to speak up if someone else is causing harm to something or someone else. Have you ever witnessed a group of people not helping an elderly person who’s struggling to cross the street with bags of groceries? It’s similarly bad when no one points out that someone’s being a brat. Don’t let someone be a bully just because everyone else in their life is afraid to tell them off. It’s likely others who aren’t speaking up will be thankful for it.

Keep learning. Back when I was sending out applications for grad school, I promised myself that if I didn’t get in anywhere, I’d take some online courses or pick up a new hobby instead. I got into grad school, so now I’m working on perfecting my craft in a structured environment. But even after I’m done with school for good, I won’t consider my education finished—ever. There are just too many good books waiting to be read. Ask more questions. Do more listening. It’s amazing what you’ll learn when you’re receptive to new information and ideas.

Take better care of yourself. You get one life in one body. So make it a long one. Running on fumes or living a sedentary lifestyle ain’t healthy, and if you don’t take care of your body, how can you expect to excel in other ways? Get plenty of exercise, fresh air, and sleep on a regular basis. Make the extra effort to eat well, too. Respect yourself enough not to make any excuses on this one.

Learn to let go. You ever meet a sad, bitter, angry old person? They didn’t become that way overnight. They spent their whole life a sad, bitter, angry person, and they let it consume and define them. If you don’t want to be like that in 40 years, don’t be like that now. Let go of the things that have hurt you. Some people will treat you unfairly. Some people will never apologize for it. And sometimes life will just be a big old bitch to really good people. Life is random that way. It’s up to you how you handle it. Your aura will be a pretty color if you handle it gracefully.

What have you done lately to be a better person? Go on. Talk yourself up in the comments.

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Comments

  1. I just signed up for an Intro to Marketing Course on Coursera….and a class on inspiring leaders through emotional intelligence anddddd one called the “Moralities of Everyday Life”. When I discovered that I could keep learning forever, for fun, I was ridiculously excited. I loved school, except for the insane cost and having to think about how I was going to turn reading Pride and Prejudice into valuable career skills. Now I get to just learn for the sake of it! Yay!

    Also, funny story. I tried to cook tempeh once and it went horribly wrong, so I went out to dinner instead. My sister forgot to lock the door of my car when we got back, and then my purse got stolen! So the worst thing that can happen when you try to cook a vegetarian dish is have your purse (and possible your identity if you’re dumb enough to have you SS card in there…like me) stolen.

    • Cassie Paton says:

      AHHHH that’s a terrible story! Okay, so THAT is the worst-case scenario. But hey! Never make the same mistake twice, right? Hopefully your identity wasn’t actually stolen.

      But that’s so cool you signed up for all those classes online. I was really getting into that idea before I was accepted into grad school. I can’t wait to just go teach myself how to do stuff, haha.

  2. Awesome list and great advice, Cassie! I will share it far and wide.

    Speaking of calling people on their shit, I was put in the awkward position this weekend of calling my uncle on making racist comments. At the Thanksgiving dinner table no less. I tried to do it as nicely as possible but it just kind of came out as me laughing incredulously and asking: “Are you being super racist right now? Is that what’s happening?”

    It was a really uncomfortable thing to do, and it made me feel all squirmy and hot when the entire table went silent, but it was undoubtedly the right thing. If no one ever calls people on that kind of behaviour, they’ll just go on thinking it’s fine. I think approaching it as a question instead of a direct accusation was actually not a bad way to go either in this case. Less confrontational, but still got the message across.

    • Cassie Paton says:

      You rock. That’s a super-awkward scenario, but it sounds like you handled it in the best way possible. Obviously, the whole table went silent because everyone knew you were dead-on. Way to address it!

  3. Ah, ain’t this list the truth. I went to a yoga class by myself for the first time a few months ago and felt LIBERATED. Which is weird, because it’s not like it was a groundbreaking idea to go to yoga on my own, but I left class feeling so refreshed and oddly empowered. I highly recommend it.

    • Cassie Paton says:

      I had the exact same experience/feeling. I don’t know what it is about that kind of situation, but walking into a room full of people who may or may not know what they’re doing and just jumping right in and focusing on nothing else but your body is… well, a feeling I’d never had until I went to yoga alone for the first time. Really liberating.

  4. Ok i am gonna sound like a self centered arse but…i visited my grandparents. I love them but try and put them off. I mean who wants to yell, and repeat themselves, 3-4 times every sentence? But no. I decided they get great jiy seeing me and my kiddos…joy i won’t know till i am a grandparent. So i visited them and made their day.

    And…i did a lot of cooking this week and saved a bundle on our telecom (geez i sound like a commercial) so I saved my husbandtime and money.,,sure they are little things but I still felt good even if i didnt save starving children or anything.

    • Cassie Paton says:

      Dude, you don’t sound like a self-centered arse at all! More like a loving, thoughtful granddaughter and wife. I bet your grandparents and kids really loved that. Very cool. 🙂

  5. Great advice! The older I get, I realize the importance of doing all of these things.

  6. Visiting for the first time from Yeah Write. Love your website – as funny and well written as it is beautiful and well designed.
    Good advice here and believe me, I’m always looking for ways to become a better, more evolved and overall decent person. 😉

    • Cassie Paton says:

      Thanks, Linda! I saw I was getting traffic from that site and realized someone must’ve added my name to the list. Pretty cool of them! (And glad to have discovered Yeah Write and others as a result.)

  7. Love this advice! Everyone should read this post 🙂

    Eve & Faye x
    Sugar Spun Sisters – A blog about cosmetics, clothes & coeliac disease

  8. Hi! Thanks for an inspiring post and a nice blog.
    I try to remember to be thankful for the little things in life and also tell people around me how much I appreciate having them around. It doesn’t take much time – nor effort – but it surely cheers people up.
    …and after reading this post I’m really tempted to do some yoga, it’s been too long.

  9. Waheed ahmad says:

    Thanks!
    Nice and attractive information…………………….

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