What an interesting question. I mean, you read that question and I honestly wonder how you interpret it. What does becoming a better person mean? How do I improve myself as an individual? How do I improve my character?
I’m writing a book and I’m titling it ‘Change Yourself’. It really was a struggle trying to settle on the fact that the word ‘change’ is in the title. Because I mean, one could ask themselves if they really need to change? or, ‘why should I change? I’m perfect the way I am’ and, honestly, these aren’t invalid ideas. But the reason I’ve settled for it (for the time being…) is because I sincerely believe we all have a natural inclination towards wanting to grow as individuals, as a person, as a human being. It’s natural, I believe, so even if we are to convince ourselves that we don’t need to change because you’re fine the way you are, growth is something our soul is constantly pushing for. I like that.
Now when it comes to ‘changing yourself’, or becoming a better person, what does this actually mean? This is one of those things where we speak to ourselves and think, ‘yeah I want to improve’ but we’re really unsure as to what direction we really need to take. So, as any normal person, we either become more physically active and sign up to a gym or a boot camp or something, or we take up a new hobby outside of our usual responsibilities, or we start a side business. Do these things make us a better person? More productive, that’s for certain! Is it feeding our need for growth though? Maybe.
I want to direct our attention to our character. You’ll find some amazing things change in your life when you begin to focus on this aspect of your life. In my honest, humble, and superbly genius opinion, I sincerely think most of our individual growth, re our character, happens outside of our control. What I mean is, it’s usually when we’re hurt by somebody or we struggle through some form of hardship do we experience growth. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s great! Any obstacle that comes your way should mean growth because they usually are individual opportunities for growth. We get hit, we hurt for a while, we develop coping mechanisms and then we develop tools to overcome those hardships if they ever come our way again. I, however, want to encourage intentional growth. Development, on your terms. Taking action, because you actually want to improve.
The primary direction I sincerely think anyone should take when they want to develop themselves, and intentionally experience growth, is to develop your character. Ok, but how? How do I improve my character? Let me try to make this practical. There are, off the top of my head, 3 things that you can increase your awareness on that will help you grow as a person.
- Your manners.
This is the one, honestly. Learn good manners. This whole blog post could be one sentence saying ‘improve your manners’ and it would almost be enough. If you want to improve your character, focus on your mannerisms. The way you speak to people, the way you respond, the way you sit, the way you stand, the way you present yourself, the way you say hello, the way you eat, the way you deal with family, the way you deal with strangers, the way you deal with nice people, the way you deal with mean people, the way you are in private, the way you are in public etc etc etc. There are countless examples and how to improve in each area is knowledge in and of itself. Small tweaks here and there, and honestly, the impact will be beyond your expectation. Any instance you get, take a moment to think about how you acted or reacted and see if there was a better way of playing that scenario out for next time. Not with every scenario, but a good question that may help is ‘what could I have done to be more polite and courteous’. Courtesy is king when focusing on your manners. Taking others into consideration before doing anything.
Courtesy can change the world.
- Your thought process when thinking about others.
Somebody is mentioned and your mind immediately goes to think about that person in a specific way. It’s a reflex. You may think that person is awesome or you may want that person to rot in hell, it’s a reflex! Almost out of your control. Now, I know it’s hard not to think bad when some people really may have hurt you in some way, but we’re not looking at changing others here, are we? We’re looking at improving ourselves. Blaming others is easy, looking at yourself is the hard part. The thoughts that come to mind are a decent indication of where you are at. If you think ill of someone, this doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, it’s a reminder to you and only you, that maybe you should be working on thinking positively about others and assuming the best. EVEN if you know they may not be polite people. Assuming the best of others is one of the hardest things to achieve when working on your character. The logic behind it; assuming good of others prevents you from thinking ill of them and possibly holding a grudge (these things will eat you up and waste so much of your energy).
- Your intentions.
All of your actions are based on your intentions. If you do something nice, with a not-so-nice intention, it doesn’t really mean too much then, does it? Questioning your own intention whenever you act or before you act, is amazing in disciplining yourself towards trying to improve your intentions. The more you try to improve your intentions, the more your actions will be beautified and filled with blessings. This will naturally shine a light within you and trust me, people will notice it. You won’t even need to say anything.
It’s not easy, but if you want to improve your character, this isn’t an overnight process. However, if you beautify your insides, you’ll attract beauty.