Am I a good person?
It’s a tough question, and sometimes I wonder if I’d even want to hear the answer.
I doubt the answer can be a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ for anyone but a few people throughout the history of humanity.
But this is not supposed to be a deeply philosophical discussion on whether people are inherently good or bad, and whether good people do bad things.
Been there, done that. I’m not high school anymore, so you can’t tell me what to do Frank!
I just think there’s something cathartic about admitting that you’re not perfect (and that’s okay), as well as realising the same applies to everyone else, no matter how well they conceal it.
So here’s 6 ways I’m trying to improve as a person:
1. BE MORE ACCEPTING OF MISTAKES
Just as much my own as others’.
Everybody messes up once in a while. The automatic response to mistakes is to get upset – but chances are they didn’t do it on purpose. Lashing out on someone who knows they made a mistake only makes them feel even worse.
I rarely get angry at other people’s mistakes, yet I still struggle to accept my own.
2. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ENERGY I PUT INTO THE WORLD
Basically, by meeting the world with a smile.
I believe that both positive and negative energy is contagious and that a positive attitude can make many situations better.
Not in a “smiling can cure cancer” kind of way.
I’m thinking situations where you’re stressed, tired or hangry and things aren’t going smoothly. Like long queues, slow traffic, less-than-interesting lectures, getting interrupted while you’re in the middle of something or misunderstandings with a friend.
If you respond to these in a negative way, other people will be affected by your attitude and probably do same.
And the same applies if you respond in a positive way.
Yes, all of those things are annoying, it’s not the ideal situation. But hey, it’s not the end of the world either, and nobody got hurt!
You can’t be responsible for other people’s action, but you can take responsibility for the energy you put into the world.
3. NOT LETTING MY PHONE BE A CONSTANT INTERRUPTION
As someone who spends way too much a fair amount of time online, I would never get anything done if I looked at my phone every time somebody liked a photo on Instagram or one of the countless newsletters I’m subscribed to ticks in.
Attempting to multitask is bad for productivity. Jumping between tasks is mentally draining because your brain goes “Right, where was I?” or “How is this done again?” every time you switch back to a task – and in the end, you get mentally fatigued sooner and takes longer to get stuff done.
How I’m taking action: I’ve turned a lot of notifications off on my phone. There’s no need for me to see whenever somebody likes a photo on Instagram, but I like to respond to comments. Yet they’re not so important I want to be distracted every time, and so I’ve turned off the sound and vibration. I’ve done the same for all other social media channels + my email. For emails in particular, I’m also taking advantage of Inbox’s tag bundling, which throughout the day collects all newsletters into a tag and only notifies me once a day. Airplane mode is another helpful way to shut your phone up!
4. SHOW MY FAMILY HOW MUCH THEY MATTER TO ME
We’ve now reached the point in the post where it gets really personal and difficult to talk about.
One thing I really hate about depression is how selfish it. How selfish it makes you. It puts you into a state where you lack energy to do anything but take care of yourself – and even that is a huge struggle most days.
Memory and concentration problems don’t make it easier either.
Recently I promised to call my dear grandmother. Which I completely forgot until my mum texted me a week later. I certainly didn’t forget because I don’t care about her.
Depression just has a way of making even the smallest tasks seem impossible to defeat, thus a friendly check-becomes unimaginable.
That’s why, as I continue to recover from depression, I want to make sure there’s no way my family can doubt how much they mean to me.
5. STAY IN TOUCH WITH OLD FRIENDS
First of all, I find it hard it hard believe I’ve reached the point in life where I have old friends. You know, the kind with rings, babies and all that stuff.
There’s a clear bridge between this and the reasons why I struggle with staying in touch with my family.
That doesn’t change that I have a lot of regrets when it comes to friendships that I let drift away. Not every friendship is meant to last, sometimes you grow apart – but it’s a shame if you don’t even try to make it last.
And honestly, it doesn’t have to take that much effort. I just need to come up with a better answer than this when they ask how I’m doing. Maybe 😉
6. STOP COMPARING MYSELF TO EVERYONE ALL THE TIME, DAMMIT!
This could also be titled: Don’t confuse my own dreams with other people’s dreams.
It’s so easy to look at people and see how successful and happy they are, especially with social media nowadays.
But there are two key things we need to remember:
- Seeming happy ≠ being happy
- Their happy ≠ my happy
It’s easy to lock onto other people’s ‘perceived happiness’ and think learning from them can bring you happiness
If only I follow [insert diet] like her, I’ll be happy
If only I get skinny/strong/muscular like her, I’ll be happy
If only I get [insert number] likes/followers/friends it’ll finally feel like other people like me and I’ll be happy
Yes, that might be putting it to extremes. However, the comparison trap can be hard to avoid completely. That’s why it’s so important to remember that someone can seem happy to you without being happy. That what makes them happy might not make your happy.
And if I can add a last one, it would be this: happiness is not a limited resource.
Their happiness doesn’t take anything away from you. There’s not less happiness in the world for you, just because they have some. So why not be happy for them, while you focus on doing the things that truly makes you happy.
What are some ways you’re trying to improve as a person? Let me know in the comments!