Being Better: Mantra to a Better Life
"Make the most of yourself....for that is all there is of you."
– Ralph Waldo Emerson.
When there’s a discussion on “how to be a better person” in a philosophy class, then this discussion will reach a whole next level, questions like what’s good, who sets these standards of being good, the difference between bad and good would take place.
If not philosophising things, everyone wants to be the best version of themselves. To be “better” is becoming more aware of our motives, being less judgmental where we could stand to be empathetic, and becoming more concerned with the well-being of the others than our own self-interested pursuits. There are various ways that one can take up to enhance themselves and be a better person.
It is the ability to understand others, to step into the shoes of another person, aiming to understand their feelings and perspectives, and to use that understanding to guide our actions.
Try to understand what others are trying to say, interact with people. This will give a broad understanding of where do people come from and their way of thinking. It will make us sensitive towards others, helping us understand their problem and guide us better as to how to treat others.
Understanding all this helps in reducing anger, rather it increases kindness. A major benefit is that empathizing prevents one from being judgemental. This is something that everyone does unconsciously. Empathy is identified as a core component of emotional intelligence and a powerful predictor of success in the workplace.
You may also read: Empathy versus Sympathy
Altruism is the unselfish concern for other people i.e. doing things simply out of a desire to help, not because you feel obligated out of duty, loyalty, or religious reasons.
A famous saying goes, "Give more than you receive." It’s a form of kindness that must be followed. If we have enough, then share. There is a social responsibility that all of us have to perform. Altruism activates reward centers in the brain. Neurobiologists have found that when engaged in an altruistic act, the pleasure centers of the brain become active.
This also gives a sense of self-accomplishment and confidence, when performing such acts. We are inspiring the community to helps others by making ourselves their role model. This helps in making a better society and a better person.
Doing this helps in reducing stress and increases the level of happiness especially on days when you feel the world is on our shoulders. Social connections may be beneficial to the extent that they provide individuals with the opportunity to benefit others. Helping others can also give us meaningful roles that boost self-esteem, mood, and purpose of life, which in turn can enhance mental and physical health.
Just wanting to be a better person isn’t enough, one has to work towards being one.
This starts by placing our objective in mind. How we want to be, who is our role model and how will we start. It’s good to just sit and think about the way we behave and react to things. Once we start to observe the way we react to the external things, we can assist ourselves better. See, how we react to things, how we interact with people, how do people perveance us, and vice versa.
Go step by step and try to improve a thing at a time like anger, reaction to things, patience, etc. the specific we are the faster we can transform ourselves. Discipline plays a huge role, without it, we cannot achieve goals.
Anger can ruin an important thing, relationships in life. Try to be patient with people. Controlling anger doesn’t mean suppressing anger. But learning to be patient. Lashing our anger on our loved ones because of other people can lead to distorted relationships.
We must learn how to vent out our emotions in a subtle way. There have many surveys that reveal that not being able to express what we feel especially anger, leads to violence. Uncontrolled anger creates unnecessary complications in life and feeling of stress. It’s also important to let go of grudges. Learn to forgive, meditation can help in releasing stress and calming one down. There are various sites like Now&Me, which is a great platform for sharing thoughts and venting emotions.
Decide on how and where do we want to see a change in ourselves. It might be related to work, personal life, or behavior in general. Note down or maintain a journal which can guide us better and also help in introspection afterwards. This helps in keeping us conscious of our behavior and making us more alert. Also frame a specific time period, so that we are committed towards change.
“If we fail to plan, we plan to fail”
Things might not always work in our favor and we can’t control the circumstance, but we can control the way we react to it by taking care of ourselves. Self-care is very important for a healthy and strong life. Interacting with friends can help in negating negative thoughts, brainstorm solutions can help in change of mind when required.
Get good sleep, exercise, eat well, have a constructive conversation with people, all of this can lead to a stress-free life. In the pandemic when the home is the new office, try to limit the screen time and instead read on new topics to keep your mind engaged. Because an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. Self-care can aid one in responding from a calm place of mind.
Judging is an excuse that makes it easier to not be kind. It’s justification. It’s also a lousy type of self-validation. Judging is a form of thinking you are higher in importance and you are “better” than someone else.
There are various reasons that one starts to judge. The main reason stands to be is insecurity about who we are, what we perceive ourselves as. There’s a constant thought that we are or have less compared to another person. So, we try to bring them down by judging or one is just intimidated by the person. When we judge other people, we are probably judging ourselves too.
To be a better person, we shall think why do we feel the need to judge, will it benefit us in any way? What’s the outcome? We end up hurting the other person and ourselves by putting the other person down.
Concentrate on the positive thoughts, avoid any kind of stereotypes and question oneself when judging others and most importantly focus on ourselves and our life and see how we can improve our thought process.
Positive self-talk / don’t criticize
Negative self-talk is self-harming in many ways. We don’t realize the impact of such acts. It can lead to depression and we will feel that we can’t accomplish things. We start to focus on the things that we don’t have rather than on the things that we have. All this in turn severely decreases productivity level and confidence. We need to realize our strength and potential, focus on them, and make them our biggest assets.
Our external environment plays a vital role in this. If we are surrounded by people who talk negatively, look down at people, then we need to change that. Psychological studies have repeatedly demonstrated that people begin learning prejudice at a very early age.
These learned behaviors and beliefs affect the way we perceive ourselves and those around us. Understanding where our ideas about ourselves come from can help us modify unhelpful beliefs, and embrace the ones that make sense to us.
Being thankful for what we have. Don’t think about “I should have a fancy car” or “I should wear a certain kind of clothes”. When we compare ourselves to standards set by others, we can end up unhappy and ashamed. One of the most popular gratitude exercises is the daily gratitude journal. One study found that materialism among adolescents decreased when they implemented this practice.
We shall also be thankful for our loved ones and even strangers. Any help by a stranger in their capacity shall be appreciated. What might be usual for us maybe be a luxury for the other? So always appreciated what we have now, don’t stress on “what we could have”. Practicing gratitude will make us positive, healthy, and compassionate.
Finding a role model
A role model, by definition, is someone who inspires others, whose life can be envied and who people want to be. A role model has the power the influence others, to change their lifestyle and their wants and desires.
Role models are great sources of inspiration. They are mostly the reason why someone wants to change. It can be a public figure or simply someone we know. Understanding what do they do, about their routine. They help us to stay focused and get us going.
Life is a constant process of self- improvement, and learning. There rarely might be a moment where we feel we have become the person we wanted to be. One has accepted that it’s a process that will continue for a lifetime and be patient. Most people want to change their life but are discouraged by the fears and self-doubt or their false beliefs.
Overcoming our resistance to change starts in the mind. If we want to change our life for the better, we must believe it is possible and in our best interest to do so.
Edited by Annanya Chaturvedi