Personal growth is hard. At least, the type of personal growth you want to last is hard (which is the only kind that matters). If you’ve been on the self-improvement journey for any amount of time, you know how much reflection, self-discovery, and learning there is to be done. Then, when you’ve reached the end you find a whole set of new and exciting issues to address. Are there any steps you can take towards a better life that don’t involve hours inside your head followed by meditation (and possibly medication)? Not to mention the boxes upon boxes of tissue paper you go through, making the cashiers your local Walmart speculate on all the reasons one person would need so many boxes of tissues. In all seriousness, it feels like a long, hard, arduous journey. But, although it doesn’t come easily, it also doesn’t always have to be an all-consuming self-improvement program. In fact, there are simple actions you can take that will make you feel better almost immediately. And the best news: they don’t require any tissue paper at all.
I continue to marvel at our ability to spend 14 hours a day in front of a screen without suffering any permanent damage to our capacity to interact socially with our fellow man. It’s not right to spend so much time removed from human interaction. This is especially true for people that work from home. It’s entirely possible to not leave your house for 2 weeks. What with video chat and internet, why would you need to? Electronic communication is not a substitute for being next to a living breathing human being.
2.) Always Try Your Best
You’ll feel better for it and you’ll always over-deliver. If you can’t try your best then maybe you shouldn’t be doing it at all.
3.) Keep Your Word
I’ve talked in length about how your self-esteem is the reputation you have within yourself. Not keeping your word destroys this reputation and destroys your self-esteem. This applies to promises you make to others and to yourself. It’s just as important, if not more important, to keep promises you make to yourself. When you don’t you stop trusting yourself. You stop believing in yourself. After that it’s not hard to go from ‘my words mean nothing’ to ‘I mean nothing’ and then to ‘I am nothing.’
4.) Do One Nice Thing Every Day
Most of us are nice people, but we just feel like we don’t have time to express it. So think of one really nice thing you can do for someone you like. How can you make that person smile? How can you make their day? What can you do that’s easy for you but hard for them? It doesn’t need to be random. It doesn’t need to be unexpected. It just needs to be genuine.
5.) Look People In The Eye
Not looking someone in the eye is synonymous to outright saying that you don’t have any self-confidence. Even if you don’t feel confident, even if you’re intimidated, look them in the eye. Now, with that said, don’t initiate a staring contest with everyone you meet. Just meet their eye at least 50% of the time in conversation and watch how much better you feel about yourself.
A smile can transcend any cultural, racial, religious, and societal differences. It will make you and everyone around you feel better. The simple act of smiling will elicit happy emotions within you. So smile, even when you want to frown.
7.) Eat Real Food
I can’t be sure when we as human beings decided it was ok to stop eating real food but, just in case you were on the fence about this one, it’s not ok. A carrot is not just a combination of carbohydrates, proteins, water, etc. It’s a carrot! There shouldn’t be any extraneous chemicals in the carrot. It shouldn’t look like it came from Mars. And it should taste like a carrot. Do you know what a carrot tastes like? Are you sure?
8.) Be The First to Apologize
Apologizing first is a thousand times more satisfying than having the last laugh. If you do even one of the above on a consistent basis, you’ll start feeling like a panda in a tree in no time. Gone will be the days where you stare off in the distance in awe of how you made it this far in life with all of the mental baggage you’ve carried around. Here are the days where you stare off in the distance and actually see the sky and look upon it in awe of its vastness. As tears form in the corners of your eyes you’ll curse because, alas, you’ve no more tissue paper. There are worse problems to have.
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