Are you finding that there’s a mismatch between the person you’d like to be and the person you actually are right now?
Perhaps there’s been a trigger which has made you realize that the time for change is now.
You may have said or done something mean or hurtful, resulting in unforeseen or perhaps devastating consequences, that has prompted you to remold yourself in a kinder, more empathetic form.
Or perhaps you’ve gotten a little older and wiser and realized that your knee-jerk, feisty response isn’t the best solution in most situations.
If that’s the case, it’s worth bearing in mind the inspirational words of author Bernajoy Vaal:
Being nice to people you don’t like isn’t called two-faced, it’s called growing up.
The good news is that being nice to others could actually enhance your own life’s journey.
You may have noticed that happy, nice, friendly people seem to be more successful, whatever they turn their hands to.
Even more positive is that all the advice on becoming a nicer person can be distilled into two short but powerful words: be kind.
So, let’s take a look at some strategies you can easily adopt to become a nicer person and a better version of yourself.
1. Learn to keep calm.
One of the reasons you may not be as nice a person as you’d like to be is that you struggle to contain your irritation at the incompetence of others.
When the pressure starts to build, any thoughts you might have had of trying to make nice go out the window.
Before you know it, sparks are flying and you’re saying mean things.
A great way to calm yourself and diffuse your response is to use a relaxation technique.
When the telltale signs of rising annoyance start, there are a number of options you can use to calm your mood and diffuse the situation.
Take a walk.
Taking time away from whatever scenario is winding you up can reap significant benefits.
Stretching your legs and putting space between you and the issue will give you a calmer perspective.
For an almost instant calming effect, nothing beats deep breathing.
Whenever you feel yourself getting riled up, take a deep breath in through your nose. Hold it for 5 seconds and then breathe out slowly through your mouth.
Repeat this several times.
Once you’ve mastered the technique, you’ll be able to calm yourself in the heat of the moment and take back control quickly before Mr/s Nasty takes over from Mr/s Nice.
The benefits are even greater and wide-ranging if you can make breathing exercises part of your daily routine.
This is a longer term solution to help you to find a way to be a nicer, calmer, and more accepting and tolerant person.
Meditation takes some effort and dedication to put into daily practice, but its effects can be life-changing and go way beyond just making you a nicer person.
2. Know when to keep your mouth shut.
It may be that you have a long-held habit of saying spiteful things about other people.
If that’s the case, just stop.
If you have a tendency to sneer at others and belittle their achievements, be nice instead.
Remember the old maxim: “do as you would be done by.”
Try not to say anything to others that you would not like to hear said about you or said directly to your face.
In short, be more like Thumper. Think back to Disney’s uber-cute bunny repeating his father’s wise words:
If you can’t say somethin’ nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.
Although this may seem an overly-simplified and childish sentiment, its simplicity is what makes it memorable and therefore effective.
Keeping it in your mind may help to stop words which you later regret pouring forth from your unruly mouth.
Try for just one day to be nice and to see the positives instead of the negatives. Then do it for another day and so on.
Buddhism would have it that the basic law of karma is this: when you spread kindness, it comes back to you.
You’ll soon see the benefits as your ‘niceness’ reflects back at you.
3. Say goodbye to cynicism.
There are few things that are more likely to blacken your mood and make you scratchy and irritable than allowing yourself to be cynical and make snarky comments.
Being cynical is often a defense mechanism as a response to feeling you have been let down or disappointed.
Rather than showing your true emotions and wearing your heart on your sleeve, you shield yourself from them by being scornful and negative.
When you harbor such a downbeat view of life, it’s only logical that you’ll be mean and derisive to others.
Cynicism can be such a deep-seated mindset that it won’t be the easiest attitude to realign.
But it is possible.
This article is a good starting point: How To Stop Being So Cynical All The Time: 8 No Nonsense Tips!
4. Count your blessings.
This might sound a little outdated as an idea, but a study at the University of Kentucky found that expressing gratitude not only improves mental health and general well-being, but also promotes kindness.
Using a group of 900+ college students, researchers showed that gratitude helps people to be more sensitive toward others and to show more concern for them.
What’s more, it encourages the concept of helping others and the development of empathy.
These behaviors are vital factors in becoming a nicer and more considerate person.
So taking the time to be thankful for what you have really will pay dividends.
5. Try other people’s shoes on for size.
Developing a greater sense of empathy for the feelings and emotions of others will allow you to understand their situation better.
Resist the temptation to make sweeping judgements about a person. Instead, talk to them and try to see things from their perspective.
Don’t dismiss the difficulties or pain they’re suffering, rather try to relate to them.
When someone is listing their woes, it’s easy to find yourself switching off and just waiting for them to stop talking.
Instead, develop the art of active listening.
Being a great listener is a huge step on the road to being a nicer, kinder, and more empathetic human.
Suspend judgement and criticism and replace these negative, hurtful sentiments with empathy and tolerance.
6. Try to be patient.
Patience is a virtue.
There’s a lot of truth in this timeless phrase, and it may not be a quality that you’re blessed with at present.
It’s so easy to become frustrated and irritable with people who don’t pick up new things as quickly as you think they should.
And likewise with those who can’t read your mind.
Before resorting to your default setting of annoyance at their shortcomings, pull yourself up, take some deep breaths, and try to be more patient and understanding.
Realize that no one is perfect and that everyone learns at different speeds and in different ways.
It’s worth reminding yourself that you have your own flaws too.
Being more patient and tolerant is something you should aim for in your quest to be a better, nicer person.
This article will help you: How To Be Patient In An Increasingly Impatient World
7. Help others.
In the hectic whirl of our lives, when it’s all about looking after number one, it’s very easy to turn a blind eye to people who are in need.
The easiest option is to turn away from other people’s distress, dismissing it as someone else’s responsibility.
You’re busy enough already and surely they’ve brought their problems upon themselves, right?
And what will you get out of it?
Well, as it turns out, research backs up the sage advice drummed into us as children:
“It is better to give than to receive.”
Studies using fMRI technology show that the act of giving stimulates the exact same parts of the brain that respond to food and sex.
So, by helping another person, you are actually helping yourself to feel better.
What’s more, those who follow Buddhist principles suggest that giving things away and helping those who are in need or less fortunate is the ultimate key to joy and happiness.
So, this final point really brings us back full circle to where we started:
The key to becoming a nicer person really does lie in being kind and the person who will benefit most from that is YOU.
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