Dear Improvement Seeker,
I think that the question of how to be a good person could be answered by what attributes make for a quality person. These are attributes that develop spiritual self-reliance.
I know that it is somewhat foreign to speak about people in terms of their quality, so let’s be clear that this isn’t meant as a judgement call that you are a bad person if you do not currently model these attributes.
These are things that I believe everyone should strive for. They are attributes that can develop over time.
How to Be a Good Person
- Do quality work. This applies to every area of life. Spend quality time with the most important people in your life. If you pray, pray sincerely. If you study the scriptures, do so with real intent to learn from God. If you work, do great work. Just give the best of yourself to those things that are important to you.
- Have integrity. What is integrity? I believe that integrity means to do what is right and good even when the immediate consequences are unpleasant and/or painful. It is living by your principles and values. If you believe in God and His son, Jesus Christ, then perhaps integrity means honoring them by striving to live by the teachings of Jesus Christ.
- Be slow to take offense to things other people do and say. I believe that it is a great idea to always strive to give others the benefit of the doubt. I am not saying to let people walk all over you. I am not saying to let others bully you. I am saying that if someone says something insensitive in your presence, perhaps it is a great idea to believe that they aren’t targeting you personally unless there is strong evidence to the contrary.
- Develop the ability/capacity to love others and to be loved by others. This includes striving to show tenderness and sincere concern for the lives and feelings of others.
- Shun apathy. Apathy is the lack of concern or interest for things of importance. Be concerned and interested in things of importance.
- Have faith.
- Believe that people can change. The saying that “people never change” is false and unfair. People do change. They change every day. You, the reader, have changed. Whether you realize it or not. You simply cannot live your life without learning, developing, and changing. It is as natural to life as is breathing. The trick is to learn how to direct, or channel, that change. This includes making worthy goals and striving to live a principled and virtuous life.
- Believe that you can change. You’ll change whether you believe it or not. Believe it and channel the change to a desirable end.
- Stand for something good. Defend yourself, your family, and others from acts of bullying and terrorism.
- Help others achieve their worthy goals.
- Be kind to the children, those who mourn, the poor, the sorrowful, the hungry, and the persecuted.
- Be meek (gentle and humble), hunger after righteousness, be merciful, be pure in heart, and be a peacemaker.
I am a person who believes that Jesus of Nazareth is literally the Son of God. I believe that He is the Savior of the world. He is the Christ. That is my faith. So, it should come as no surprise that many of those points in the list closely resemble things that Jesus has said. But, whether or not you personally believe in Jesus Christ at the present time, these principles are the way to become a quality person.
The person who is successful at developing these attributes will be looked up to and esteemed as a friend by most in her/his circle of influence. But they won’t do it for the recognition, and that is one of the things that makes these kinds of people so inspiring.