We all want to be our best selves. People often wonder if and how they can become a better person for themselves, their families and for society at large. The answer is, yes, you can become a better version of yourself, but how do you get there?
1. Start by getting to know yourself. You must understand yourself at your core. That means getting in tune with your deeper self. Identify your values, your passions, and what gets you up each morning. Discover what makes you happy, sad and what riles you up. Get to know how you respond to life’s uncertainties. Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. When we really know who we are, then we can make a conscious effort to improve ourselves.
2. Practice forgiveness and release your anger. Before you can let go of your anger, you need to feel it first. Understand where it’s coming from and how it makes you feel. Anger is a healthy emotion to experience. What’s unhealthy about anger is when we choose to hang on to it and carry it around inside of us.
3. Admit when you make a mistake and apologize. Own up to your blunders and say I’m sorry. Reframe making mistakes as learning and growth opportunities. Remember, you’re only human.
4. Be a good listener. When someone is talking to you next time listen to learn. Be truly curious about what’s going on for the other person. Quiet your own agenda and don’t think about how you’re going to respond while the other person is talking.
5. Practice compassion. It can be helpful to give people the benefit of the doubt. Don’t always assume the worst in others. The next time someone is rude to you at the grocery store, instead of cursing under your breath and calling them names, assume they are having a really bad day. Researchers have found that people who give others the benefit of the doubt all the time were happier.
Finally, remember that this is an ongoing journey that will have bumps and setbacks along the way, so try to embrace it. Growth isn’t linear and sometimes we have to go backward before we can go forward. Learn to appreciate what you have along the way and to find gratitude for what’s working in your life.
Christine Holmberg, LMFT