10 signs you’re a better person than you realize, according to psychology

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There’s often a massive gap between how we see ourselves and how others perceive us. Self-doubt can be a powerful force that clouds our judgment and prevents us from recognizing our true potential.

Do you ever wonder if you’re a better person than you give yourself credit for? Psychology suggests that you might be.

Being a good person isn’t about grand gestures or heroic deeds. It’s about the small, everyday actions that make a difference. And there are certain signs which indicate that you’re doing better than you think.

Let’s get started. 

1) You’re always striving for growth

Ever feel like you’re stuck in a never-ending cycle of self-improvement? That’s probably a good thing.

According to psychologist Carl Rogers, one of the key aspects of a fully functioning person is a constant desire for growth. He famously said, “The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination.”

So, if you find yourself always looking for ways to become better, to learn more, to be kinder or more empathetic – that’s actually a sign that you’re doing better than you think.

Rogers believed that those who are constantly striving for growth are the ones who are most emotionally healthy.

When you worry that you’re not doing enough, remember – the fact that you’re trying means you’re on the right track.

2) You practice empathy

I recall a time when a friend was going through a tough phase. I couldn’t fix her problems, but I remember spending hours listening to her, trying to understand her perspective, and making sure she felt heard.

Empathy – the ability to understand and share the feelings of others – is a significant sign of emotional intelligence. And according to the renowned psychologist Daniel Goleman, “Empathy is the social glue that holds our communities together.”

If you find yourself genuinely caring about the feelings and experiences of others, it’s a powerful indicator that you’re a better person than you might think.

Your capacity for empathy shows your willingness to connect with others on a deeper level and contribute positively to their lives.

3) You own up to your mistakes

Let’s be honest, we all make mistakes. I’ve had my fair share of blunders, and it’s never easy to admit when I’m wrong. But I’ve learned that taking responsibility for my actions, no matter how unpleasant, is a crucial part of personal growth.

Renowned psychologist Albert Ellis once said, “The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.”

Admitting your mistakes doesn’t make you weak; it makes you human. It shows that you value truth over ego and growth over comfort.

If you’re willing to face your mistakes head-on and learn from them, it’s a sign that you’re a better person than you might think.

4) You forgive and let go

I remember a time when someone I trusted hurt me deeply. It took a lot of time and inner strength, but eventually, I chose to forgive and let go. Not for their sake, but for mine.

Forgiveness is a powerful trait. According to Indira Gandhi, “Forgiveness is a virtue of the brave.” It takes courage to let go of resentment and anger, but doing so frees us from carrying around unnecessary emotional baggage.

If you’re able to forgive others – and equally as important, yourself – it’s a sign that you have a healthy emotional life.

This ability to release negativity for your own peace of mind shows that you are indeed a better person than you may believe.

5) You’re comfortable with being uncomfortable

Now, this might seem a bit counterintuitive. I mean, who likes to be uncomfortable, right? But there was this one time when I pushed myself to speak at a public event despite my fear of public speaking, and it turned out to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

Sophocles famously said, “One must wait until the evening to see how splendid the day has been.” What he meant is that growth often comes from discomfort.

If you’re willing to step outside of your comfort zone, to face uncertainties and challenges head-on, it shows a remarkable strength of character.

This willingness to embrace discomfort for the sake of personal growth is a clear sign that you’re a better person than you might think.

6) You appreciate the simple things

Have you ever found joy in the smell of fresh coffee in the morning, the sound of leaves rustling in the wind, or a heartfelt conversation with a friend? These simple pleasures are often overlooked, but they’re a sign of deep contentment and an appreciation for life.

The famous psychologist Abraham Maslow once said, “The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.”

Appreciating simple pleasures shows that you’re present, aware, and deeply connected to your surroundings. It’s an indicator that you’re not just living life, but truly experiencing it. And that’s a sign of being a better person than you might realize.

7) You’re kind to yourself

I used to be my own worst critic, always focusing on my shortcomings and never celebrating my accomplishments. But over time, I’ve learned the importance of being kind to myself.

Psychologist Kristin Neff, a leading expert on self-compassion, has said, “With self-compassion, we give ourselves the same kindness and care we’d give to a good friend.”

If you’re able to treat yourself with kindness, forgive yourself when you make mistakes, and appreciate your efforts, that’s a sign of self-compassion.

And being kind to yourself is a clear indicator that you’re a better person than you might think. After all, how we treat ourselves often mirrors how we treat others.

8) You’re not afraid to show vulnerability

There was a time when I thought showing vulnerability was a sign of weakness. I’ve since learned that it’s quite the opposite.

Brené Brown, a renowned psychologist and researcher, has said, “Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome.”

If you’re willing to open up, show your authentic self, and admit you don’t have all the answers, it reveals a strong sense of self-awareness and courage.

Being vulnerable doesn’t make you weak; it makes you human. And that, my friend, is a telltale sign that you’re a better person than you might think.

9) You’re okay with saying ‘No’

Saying ‘No’ isn’t always easy, especially when you’re a people pleaser like me. But over time, I’ve learned that saying ‘No’ when necessary is not only okay, it’s crucial for my wellbeing.

It’s important to learn to say no. If you can’t make that step, you won’t be able to take control of your life.

If you’re comfortable setting boundaries and prioritizing your needs, it shows a healthy level of self-respect.

It might seem counterintuitive, but being able to say ‘No’ is actually a sign that you value yourself and your time. And that definitely makes you a better person than you might realize.

10) You practice gratitude regularly

I began a gratitude journal a few years back. It seemed trivial at first, jotting down three things I was thankful for each day. But over time, I noticed a significant shift in my outlook on life.

Gratitude isn’t just about saying ‘thank you.’ Gratitude is a way of viewing the circumstances of your life.

This regular practice of acknowledging the good in your life, no matter how small, shows a positive mindset and an appreciation for the journey you’re on.

It’s a sign that you’re more centered, grounded, and honestly, a better person than you might think.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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