Important Mindset Changes That Made Me A Better Person
by Jananie Chandrarao. |
In psychology, a person’s thoughts, emotions and behaviours are said to be interrelated. Meaning, all three components can cause changes and have an impact on one another. However, how your thoughts are formed has a lot to do with your perception towards the world around you in the sense of how you interpret everything occurring around you and towards you. And your mindset can be said to be your collection of beliefs or perceptions that shape your thought patterns.
Guys, your mindset is a huge deal!
Its impacts on your thought processes through your perception of the world and about yourself can literally have an impact on how you feel and the actions you carry out. This can indirectly affect your life circumstances, outcomes of events and even who you are as a person! With that being said, it’s no secret now that altering your mindset can indeed make you a better person and here are the important mindset changes I made in my journey progressing towards a better version of myself.
1. It’s always the little things
My best friend and I had a thing where we asked each other what our little things were for the day. The concept of little things is easy. It is the tiny, mundane, and often simple things that we overlook in our daily lives but deserve our utmost attention and appreciation. It also covers an incredibly wide range of actions and events. It can be anything from looking at the sunset to blowing a dandelion, exchanging smiles with a little boy who’s a complete stranger or even drinking a good cup of coffee. It also can be listening to your favourite song, having a meaningful conversation with a fellow human being or even having your favourite ice cream.
Having a mindset that actively seeks the little things in your daily life allows you to be completely present in the moment to appreciate them. An act of giving your 100% attention to what is, without mindlessly rushing through your day, constantly being focused on what’s next.
Moreover, focusing on the little things allows more depth into your life. You see, exchanging a smile with a little boy who is a complete stranger isn’t just a smile. It is a genuine form of expression of kindness and love portrayed through an innocent smile. He doesn’t know you, but he sees you as a person without any labels or judgements, with trust and even with the love that binds us all humans together.
2. Empathy a.k.a putting yourself in someone else’s shoes
A mind-set that strives to understand people and the things around us with empathy is vital. On one level, it helps us to understand and connect with others on a deeper level. Saying that you ‘understand’ what one might be going through and actually putting yourself in their shoes are two very different things. The former is just a verbal statement that affirms your understanding of mere words said to you, while the latter is not just the ability to understand but to share the feelings of another. Meaning, you also experience the emotions being felt by the other person as if you also lived through their circumstances.
On another level, it helps you to not easily jump into conclusions and form judgements about the behaviour and attitude of others. For instance, the same behaviour exhibited by someone else and ourselves are not interpreted the same way. When you arrive late to a meeting, you may say it’s because of traffic. But when the tables turn and it’s someone else, we form judgements like ‘Hey, maybe he’s just lazy’. This is because we are more aware of the external circumstances that are at play in our lives that affect our behaviour compared to other people. Thus, being able to draw more accurate conclusions based on not just your attitude but rather the external contributing factors to your behaviour.
Thus, having a mindset that focuses on being more empathetic towards others means giving others the benefit of doubt because their behaviour might not always reflect their attitude or it might be interfered by external factors. You see, the unusual rude behaviour of a colleague might not be because he’s a rude person, but likely because he just received bad news. The friend who ignored your texts? She might be trying to stay away from social media due to her anxiety issues. The coffee barista who delayed your orders? It might be her first day on the job and she’s trying real hard to figure everything out. Remember all the times you wished others had understood better why you behaved the way you behaved? Just channel that wish towards others around you.
3. Don’t expect the moral desert (pronounced like dessert)
If you’ve watched ‘The Good Place’ (I LOVE THAT SHOW!!!), in the season 2’s final episode, you’ll find drunk Eleanor confessing how her 6 months of being a do-gooder got her nowhere. Michael, our neighbourhood friendly demon, explains how Eleanor was expecting a moral desert, a concept that if you act with virtue, you deserve a reward for it. In simple words, you do good deeds not because you’re a good person but because you expect something in return.
Practise having a mindset where you carry out your actions, especially the kind ones for others without expecting the moral desert but because you are a good person. The reason being, when you expect something in return for your good deeds, it’s no longer a good deed but rather a business.
Instead, just believe in how when you put good things out into the world, goodness comes back to you in unexpected and miraculous ways. The upside of this belief is that regardless of whether you get anything in return or not, you will continue carrying out kind deeds with the sole intention of being good.
A similar instance in my life was when I couldn’t afford my favourite yoga app given I was still a student with no income. The app specifically had a section where when you can’t afford it, you can submit a valid reason why. To my surprise, a kind guy named Ben from the yoga app team emailed me informing me that he had extended my free trial and gave me a generous discount for the subscription after the free trial. Suddenly I had this profound realization of all the goodness I have put out into the world coming back to me in unexpected ways, sometimes even through complete strangers like Ben. I’ve started seeing every kind action of someone else towards me as these miracles.
Becoming a better person is a process that requires constant progress in mindset towards the better. It involves actively learning new and greater ways of seeing and interpreting things and requires a lot of practice. But the good news is, every day is a new opportunity to strive towards a better version of yourself with an even better mindset approaching life. Focusing on the little things, having empathy and not expecting moral desert is just a start. There is a long and worthwhile journey ahead of you.
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