To be a better all-round human being, start doing these 18 things

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You want to be a decent human being, right?

Who doesn’t?

Unfortunately, it can be easy to get caught up in our own lives and forget about the impact that our actions have on others.

Being a decent person is simple but not always easy. In other words, you probably know what to do already, but actually doing it is another matter.

Still, with some effort and self-awareness, anyone can learn to be kinder and more compassionate, and make a positive contribution to the world.

Here’s how…

1. Treat others as being of equal inherent value.

Every person has inherent value, and it’s essential to recognize and honor that value in all interactions.

One way to do this is to avoid making assumptions about people based on their appearance, background, or other external factors. Instead, take the time to get to know them as individuals and appreciate their unique qualities and perspectives.

Treating others as being of equal value requires a commitment to fairness, respect, and compassion. By practicing these qualities in all your interactions, you can create a more positive and supportive environment for yourself and those around you.

2. Look for commonalities but respect differences.

Whether it’s shared interests, beliefs, or values, finding common ground can help build connections and foster understanding.

However, it’s also important to respect differences. Everyone has unique experiences, perspectives, and identities that shape who they are. Acknowledging and valuing these differences can help create a more inclusive and accepting society.

You should try to be mindful of your own biases and assumptions while recognizing that your experiences and beliefs may not be universal.

And always respect boundaries and personal preferences. Everyone has the right to their own beliefs, values, and identities, and it’s important to respect those differences.

3. Choose generosity over greed.

Generosity is the act of giving without expecting anything in return. Greed, on the other hand, is the excessive desire for more than what is needed. Choosing generosity over greed, therefore, means prioritizing the needs of others and being content with what you have.

Did you know that studies have shown that generosity leads to increased happiness, improved mental health, and even physical health benefits. When you choose to give to others, you are not only helping them but also improving your own well-being.

You can be generous by volunteering your time, donating to charity, or simply helping out a neighbor. Small acts of kindness can go a long way in making the world a better place.

4. Do not speak ill of others.

It is easy to fall into the trap of talking about others, but it is important to remember that doing so can hurt them and damage relationships.

When you speak ill of others, it reflects poorly on you and can also damage your reputation. People will be less likely to trust you and confide in you if they know that you gossip and speak negatively about others.

Instead of speaking ill of others, try to focus on the positive qualities of people. If you have a problem with someone, try to address it with them directly and in a respectful manner. If you hear a person speaking ill of someone else, try to change the subject or politely tell them that you do not want to participate in gossip.

5. Be more self-aware and take steps to correct unhelpful behavior.

Being self-aware means having a clear understanding of your thoughts, feelings, and actions, and how they impact yourself and those around you. Being self-aware allows you to recognize unhelpful behaviors and take steps to correct them.

You can become more self-aware through things like mindfulness meditation, journalling, or by asking “why?” when you have acted in a way you know you shouldn’t have.

Once you have a better understanding of yourself, it’s important to take steps to correct unhelpful behaviors. This can include apologizing when you’ve hurt someone’s feelings, being open to feedback and criticism and using it to improve yourself, practicing empathy and putting yourself in other people’s shoes, and being mindful of your language and actions and avoiding anything that could be hurtful or offensive

6. Take every opportunity to lift others up.

It is easy to focus on our own needs and desires, but true decency requires us to look beyond ourselves and help those around us. Here are a few ways you can take every opportunity to lift others up:

  • Offer a kind word or compliment to someone.
  • Listen attentively to someone who needs to talk and offer support and encouragement.
  • Help someone in need, whether it’s a neighbor, friend, or stranger.
  • Encourage and celebrate the successes of others, rather than being envious or competitive.

By taking every opportunity to lift others up, you not only make a positive impact on their lives, but you also improve your own sense of well-being and purpose.

7. Make choices consciously rather than impulsively.

When we allow our emotions to control us, we often make decisions that we later regret. It’s important to take a step back, assess the situation, and make a thoughtful decision.

Try to take a deep breath and calm down before making a decision. Consider the consequences of your actions on yourself and others, and think about what your values are and how your decision aligns with them.

By making choices consciously, you will be able to actions that are harmful to yourself or others.

Remember, it’s okay to take time to make a decision. Don’t rush into something just because you feel pressured or anxious. Take the time to think things through and make a decision that aligns with your values and beliefs.

8. Show gratitude when others help you or do nice things for you.

When someone does something nice for you or helps you out, it’s important to express your appreciation. Not only does it make the other person feel good, you’ll probably feel good too.

There are many ways to show gratitude, and it doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. A simple “thank you” can go a long way. Alternatively, you can write a thank-you note or card, buy them a small gift or treat, offer to help them with something in return, or give them a hug or handshake.

Remember, showing gratitude is not only polite, but it also helps to build strong relationships with others. So, the next time someone does something nice for you, take a moment to express your appreciation in a meaningful way.

9. Take responsibility for your actions.

Taking responsibility for your actions means owning up to your mistakes, acknowledging the impact your actions had on others, and making amends when necessary. It also means not trying to shift the blame onto others or making excuses for your behavior.

When you take responsibility for your actions, you demonstrate integrity, accountability, and respect for others. You show that you are willing to learn from your mistakes and grow as a person. You also build trust and credibility with those around you.

Remember, taking responsibility for your actions is not always easy. It requires humility, honesty, and self-awareness. But it is an essential part of being a decent human being.

10. Be open-minded and non-judgmental.

You should be willing to consider different perspectives and ideas without immediately dismissing them based on preconceived notions or personal biases. You should also avoid making assumptions about people or situations without first gathering all the facts.

Here are some tips for cultivating an open-minded and non-judgmental attitude:

  • Practice empathy: Try to put yourself in other people’s shoes and understand their perspectives. This can help you avoid making snap judgments based on incomplete information.
  • Challenge your assumptions: Be aware of your own biases and try to challenge them. Ask yourself why you believe certain things and consider whether there might be other valid viewpoints.
  • Listen actively: When talking to others, make a conscious effort to really listen to what they’re saying. Avoid interrupting or dismissing their ideas before they’ve had a chance to fully explain them.
  • Be curious: Approach new ideas and experiences with curiosity rather than skepticism. Ask questions and seek out information to help you better understand unfamiliar concepts or perspectives.

Remember that being open-minded and non-judgmental doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything you encounter. It simply means being willing to consider alternative viewpoints and treating others with respect.

11. Be there for others, but do set emotional boundaries.

Being supportive and there for others is an important aspect of being a decent human being. However, it is also important to set emotional boundaries to avoid being drained or overwhelmed by others’ emotions.

One way to set emotional boundaries is to be clear about what you are and are not comfortable discussing. It’s okay to let others know that you are not comfortable discussing certain topics or that you need some time to process your own emotions before discussing theirs.

Another way to set emotional boundaries is to limit the amount of time you spend listening to other people’s problems. Consider setting a time limit for conversations or scheduling specific times to talk to others about their problems.

It’s also important to recognize when you need to take a step back from a situation. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or drained by someone else’s emotions, it’s okay to take a break and focus on your own needs for a while.

12. Work on your flaws.

No one is perfect, but we can all strive to be better versions of ourselves. Start by identifying your flaws.

This can be difficult, as it requires a level of self-awareness and honesty. Consider asking trusted friends or family members for their input, as they may be able to provide valuable insight.

Once you have identified your flaws, make a plan to work on them. This may involve seeking therapy or counseling, reading self-help books, or simply making a conscious effort to change your behavior.

Be sure that any goals you set for yourself are realistic. Don’t expect to completely eliminate a flaw overnight. But do hold yourself accountable by keep track of your progress and celebrating your successes.

13. Respect the boundaries of others.

It is important to understand that everyone has their own limits and comfort zones, and it is not our place to push those boundaries.

One way to show respect for others’ boundaries is to ask for consent before doing something that may affect them. This could be something as simple as asking before hugging someone or asking before sharing personal information about them.

Another way to respect boundaries is to listen to others when they express their needs or limits. If someone tells you that they are not comfortable talking about a certain topic, it is important to respect their wishes and avoid discussing it with them.

It is also important to remember that boundaries can change over time. What was once comfortable for someone may no longer be comfortable for them. It is important to check in with others periodically to make sure that you are still respecting their boundaries.

14. Show consideration for the impact you have on nature.

Our actions can have a significant effect on the environment, and it is our responsibility to take steps to minimize that impact.

We can do this by making small changes in our daily lives, such as using public transport or walking instead of driving, turning off lights when we leave a room, and buying fewer things that we might not actually need.

We should also try to recycle wherever possible, compost food waste, and reduce our use of single-use plastics. By doing so, we can reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills and pollutes our oceans.

Finally, we must consider the impact of our actions on wildlife. We can do this by not littering, not disturbing wildlife habitats, and supporting conservation efforts. By doing so, we can help protect endangered species and preserve the natural beauty of our planet for future generations.

15. Be true to your word.

Your word is your bond, and people rely on you to keep your promises. When you say you’re going to do something, follow through on it.

Here are a few ways to be true to your word:

  • Think before you speak. Before making a promise or commitment, take a moment to consider whether you can realistically fulfill it.
  • Don’t overcommit. It’s better to underpromise and overdeliver than the other way around. Only make commitments that you know you can keep.
  • Communicate honestly. If you realize that you won’t be able to keep a promise, be upfront and honest about it. Apologize and try to make it right in another way if possible.
  • Follow up. If you promise to do something, follow up on it to make sure it gets done. This shows that you take your commitments seriously and value the trust others have placed in you.

16. Practice self-reflection regularly.

Self-reflection is a powerful tool that can help you become more self-aware and improve your relationships with others.

When you take the time to reflect on your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, you can gain valuable insights into your strengths and weaknesses, and identify areas for growth.

Set aside time each day to reflect on your experiences and interactions with others. This can be as simple as taking a few minutes to think about your day before going to bed. Be honest with yourself about your thoughts and feelings. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge areas where you may have fallen short or could improve.

Consider keeping a journal to document your reflections. This can help you track your progress over time and identify patterns in your behavior.

17. Take care of yourself and notice how it makes you feel.

It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and forget to take care of yourself. But self-care is essential to being a decent human being. When you take care of yourself, you’re better equipped to take care of others.

When you take care of yourself, you’ll notice a difference in how you feel. You’ll have more energy, feel less stressed, and be better equipped to handle the challenges that come your way.

And, most importantly, when you feel good physically and mentally, you’re more likely to spread that positivity to those around you.

18. Be kind to yourself when you aren’t being all that kind to others.

It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and say or do something unkind to others. It happens to the best of us.

But what’s important is how we respond to our mistakes. Instead of beating yourself up, it’s important to be kind to yourself and recognize that you are fallible.

That doesn’t mean excusing your behavior or not taking responsibility for your actions. It means acknowledging that everyone makes mistakes and that you can learn from them.

When you beat yourself up, you create a negative cycle that can lead to more unkind behavior towards others and yourself. Instead, try practicing self-compassion. Recognize that you are human and that making mistakes is a part of life. Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you would offer a friend who made a mistake.

Being kind to yourself is not only good for your own well-being, but it can also lead to more kindness towards others. When you can forgive yourself for your mistakes, you are more likely to forgive others for theirs. So, be kind to yourself and know that you are doing the best you can.

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About The Author

Steve Phillips-Waller is the founder and editor of A Conscious Rethink. He has written extensively on the topics of life, relationships, and mental health for more than 8 years.