An Epistle of What It Means To Be A Good Person
It doesn’t lie in our morals alone
I know one of the greatest traits a parent wants to imbibe in a child would be to learn how to be a good person. But oftentimes, that word becomes too ambiguous to comprehend what the true intentions of the parent are.
Intentions differ from actions. So even though a parent might mean well, if they never do good, the child will never truly understand the meaning of being a good person. Examples exist where instead of being good, it’s exercised as people-pleasing or unnecessary self-sacrifice. These replacements always feel like one is being good or doing well until all their energy is sapped with their spirits left longing.
Being a good person can never go wrong. We hear this statement and advice all the time — sometimes without really knowing how to deal with it. Other times in an attempt to, we succumb to the needless “nice” category. And all the wishy-wash attitude lingers on in the guise of being good.
The reason I know this is because I used to be one of those “nice” people. But instead of dwelling in that pattern or category, I challenged myself to come off it.
It’s not entirely my fault. I didn’t learn how to be good to others from childhood. Instead, I was instilled with lots of fear and as such, it produced the after-effects of my behavior and treatment towards others, most notably, people-pleasing.
I even developed an attachment due to it, that affected gravely my relationships moving forward (but a story for another day).
One of the most important things in life is being selfless and treating others right. Being a good person encapsulates these characteristics and more.
There’s no pamphlet per se, on how to be good to others. But I can tell you that if you develop a solid interest in genuinely treating others better than you’ve been then you’ll get all the right information on how to genuinely treat others well.
Being a good person is subjective.
Always leave someone better than you found them — Unknown
Characters that qualify a good person are chiefly based on how we choose to define or exercise such a trait, but also it depends on our roots/upbringing.
Being a good person I think, is highly dependent on how you treat people. People who are beneath your standard of living (or in class) and seemingly appear to be of no help whatsoever to you.
It is the ability to look out for people in ways that will truly influence their lives positively. It starts with you, but it always ends with other people. That’s how you know you were created for a purpose to serve others with all you’ve been blessed with. Blessed I say, because even the best and horrid experiences we pass through could be so that we could share that journey or impact someone else’s life with them.
But it inherently starts with the mindset of respecting others
If you want to know how to treat somebody right or be good toward them then you must learn how to respect them. Respect, they say, is reciprocal. It means that an act of respect goes a long way in unlocking the virtue in others towards some others that they meet as well.
Also, this manner of respect should be impartial, that is, regardless of age, gender, race, or status.
Respecting others means you recognize them as your fellow human being which brings forth other virtues alongside it. Virtues like: love, care, kindness, compassion, tolerance, endurance, and the sort. Simply because you chose to respect them.
The next is learning to treat yourself right
This cannot be overemphasized; the importance of looking after yourself first. Why? Because it serves as a practice for how you intend to treat others right. If you don’t treat yourself right, you won’t know that feeling. Therefore, you can’t tell whether it’d be good for somebody else or not.
Take a sponsored trip to Hawaii for instance. It makes you joyful when somebody does that for you, only because if you could also afford to treat yourself to it, it’s bound to make you feel good too.
Let’s take a less materialistic person’s example: being stranded and finding help in the hands of a total stranger. The relief, the care, and the empathy define humanity.
This is the surrounding factors, if not the main ones, to be good to others. But you must be willing to be your friend first. Treat yourself nicely. Regarding your mental health. Your hygiene is on a constant A. Your spiritual life is on point. These things boost your confidence on how to step out and be there for somebody else.
You have to make up your mind
Honestly, being good must come with a strong intention to be. You have to make up your mind and test run what you’ve got on others to see how good you treat them. It’s pointless hearing the advice all the time or reading about it but never putting it into practice.
Admittedly, not everyone has the innate ability to be kind or good to others — something about genetics. However, you can try to be. The more you strive, the easier it becomes — and the more adaptable it connotes to your person.
When you’ve made up your mind, you’d realize that it takes
It takes listening well and not responding to demonstrate an act of goodwill
We think we know it all until we’ve heard from others and/ or let them finish what they’ve got to say.
Truth is: if a foolish person speaks, you’d know and if a wise person is speaking, you’d know too. The differentiating factor is the ability to listen well to others as often as possible- as hard as it may seem.
Listening is one of the major things now people are on about. Everyone preaches about not listening to respond but truly listening for just that.
But the truth is that it’s hard. Very hard to sit patiently and hear someone else talk without responding to the impulses that say correct them or hijack the whole conversation.
It is through listening we show others that we care, respect them and treat them well.
Because most times, people need to be heard to truly feel good. Not your advice, input, nor jokes can relieve them as much as think they would.
Many people grew up never having anyone hear them out for once. And when you depict that rare and hard characteristic, you can’t imagine how much you’ve done for such a person.
Goodness can be shown through acts of service
Writing, painting, singing, dancing, and acting… are all acts of service to make another person feel good.
Using your talent to its utmost to feed others’ souls is a way to demonstrate that you’re a good person too.
But at times we’re stuck in thinking and mapping things out but never bringing them to fruition.
It helps to know that all talks and no walks are distressing at times. Especially when you’ve somewhat made up your mind to be of help.
Acts of service are another great way of treating others well. Talk about paying for someone’s groceries, paying for their rent, buying them food, and offering them a job. Going out on a limb to be there for them. It goes a long way in the heart of such people.
If you’re skeptical about figuring out who truly needs help, it’s best to offer what you have to a more generalized group that you know will always need it such as charity organizations, homes, and the sorts. That way, you’re still reaching out to many (unspecific) people that need your help at once. And such a gesture would always depict you as a kind and good person. As long as it’s from a genuine place and has no charades.
Validation demonstrates the good in somebody
Nothing can be more heart-wrenching than being treated like a crazy person by the very people who are supposed to understand you the most. Simply because, if tables were turned, and you had to be there for them, you 100% would. Why can’t such gestures be returned? You wonder.
Invalidation kills. It’s like disapproving of a person’s existence even while they’re living. You may as well.
Everyone’s feelings, emotions, and perspectives are valid. They’re coming from a place of reasoning whether they know it or not — even if it’s from a negative light.
The worst thing you can do is invalidate someone’s feelings when you haven’t made an effort to understand where they might be coming from. In which case even if from a negative plight, help them see reasons why they need to course-correct. But to disregard it is not what a good person would do.
Being good sounds like a patronizing game, but truly it embodies the urge to validate other people. With the mindset that we’re born into different homes and raised differently. Equally with understanding the impact of diversification before meeting our judgments. Because, who are we to?
Being good is hard. It would feel like you’re a fraud for displaying all the attributes it takes to be called one. And while there are overwhelming lists of how to be a good person or what characterizes one as a good person, it begs the importance of genuinely making up one’s mind and making a concrete effort to step out of our comfort zones and be there for other people.
Being good doesn’t have to be anything grandiose. It’s mostly the little things, especially for the ones who feel incapable to render “solid” helping hands to others. You must know that it could be as little as helping a child cross the road, standing in for an orphan where your kid’s school, and so on. It could be as silent as listening to someone while they air their hearts, validating their opinions, and/or genuinely seeking our ways to aid them to grow to know better.
With these in mind, you can see that being good isn’t much of a big deal if we can learn to be good with ourselves first and test how it must feel for others when they receive relatively the same thing.
Be a good person starting from today. The world has been calling. It is waiting. Your contribution goes a super long way than you can imagine. The ripple effects of your kindness are limitless. Sit up, it doesn’t lie in our morals alone.
Remember: one good turn deserves another.