You do not have to wait for difficult times to come out of them being better people. Every day is a good time to give the best of ourselves, every moment is right to act correctly.
Sigmund Freud pointed out that science has not yet designed a medicine as powerful as kind words. If we ask ourselves how to be a better person, the answer is not always easy, but there is something evident: striving towards this end, proposing this goal, has a transforming effect, both for those around us and for ourselves.
Traditionally it has been philosophy that has dealt with defining this existential competence that, more than a purpose, we could define almost as an aspiration. We all hope to be a little better every day. We often tell ourselves that every experience, positive or adverse, should help us improve as human beings.
Sometimes we succeed and at other times we return to that starting point where there is no progress. However, as Søren Kierkegaard pointed out , the key is not to give up, the secret is to continue harboring positive thoughts despite suffering, existential contradictions. Walking towards the future is to unite wills to always give a little more of ourselves.
Keys on how to be a better person
When it comes to delving into how to be a better person, we can draw on different areas. Anthropology, philosophy and psychology are those disciplines that have been most concerned with defining this dimension. We are not, therefore, before the classic topic that interests only positive psychology . In reality, the idea of improving ourselves and being better is a concern shared by multiple disciplines.
On the other hand, there is a detail that we must consider. That goal should be a daily aspiration because, in reality, that task will never be finished. We will always be imperfect and fallible creatures trying to be better . There will not be a day when we do not realize that there is something about ourselves that we should develop, correct or change. Being aware of it is already an achievement.
Be better according to philosophy
Aristotle pointed out that all people have the capacity to be good and virtuous. However, kindness is a habit that is exercised and that can become a habit. These would be some keys:
- Be prudent. Prudence is related to the ability to be reflective , to meditate before making a decision, to learn to treat others with respect and appreciation.
- Temperance (as a synonym for emotional control). Knowing how to master internal realities such as anger, rage, ego or the need for power are essential to be someone noble.
- Justice. Being fair in everything we do, having a sense of respect, of what is right and what is wrong is essential to know how to be a better person.
- Strength. Every man or woman must have within them an adequate dose of courage, of courage to defend what is correct.
What anthropology tells us
Oliver Scott Curry is an anthropologist at the University of Oxford and a fellow of the Institute for Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology. In a work published in the journal Current Anthropology, he addresses what questions determine how to be a better person. These are dimensions that Dr. Curry defines as moral rules and that have been studied in 60 countries. They are as follows:
- Caring about the people we hold dear . Being able to apply behaviors that benefit them, that guarantee their happiness is key
- Help our community.
- Being able to appreciate the favors, and what is better: return them.
- Be brave people capable of defending their values.
- Respect people, whoever they are.
- Be able to share our resources.
- Do not envy what others have.
How to be a better person according to psychology
Figures like Abraham Maslow or Martin Seligman approached this topic in an interesting, practical and useful way. Being a better person forces us to make a journey through areas such as emotional intelligence , gratitude and that desire to achieve authentic self-realization with which we aspire to give our best in each circumstance.
Let's get to know those areas that we should focus on.
Dimensions in which to work to be better
- Self-knowledge. Knowing ourselves is the existential threshold and our main purpose at all times. Knowing ourselves, getting in touch with our authentic self, is the rudder that will guide us on our journey to be better.
- Practice acceptance. Learn to accept people for who they are, something like this will save you suffering. It assumes that there are realities in life that cannot be changed, they must be accepted.
- Control your emotions and let yourself act defensive in front of the world . No one is to blame for what happens to you, you are responsible for yourself and you must act by controlling your emotions. You must also be able to respond to what worries you or takes your calm in an intelligent way.
- Forgive, thank, acknowledge. Knowing how to forgive (and forgive ourselves) learning to be grateful for what surrounds us and recognize the good that surrounds us is an act that helps us to be better.
- Make use of empathy. Few dimensions improve our coexistence like that social glue that is empathy.
- Be compassionate and self-compassionate. Compassion is a double bind dimension, it must act on us and also on others. Thanks to her, we respect others and develop proactive behaviors aimed at improving the lives of those around us. Likewise, nothing is as important to well-being as compassionate dialogue with yourself.
To conclude, it does not matter which approach we choose, the philosophical, the anthropological or the psychological. Each discipline supports common dimensions, doors that we must cross to impregnate ourselves with adequate virtues and resources to be better. And remember, that task is never finished...