5 signs you’re a high quality person, according to psychology

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Have you ever wondered what separates genuinely good, high-quality people from the rest? 

While being a “high-quality person” means different things to different people, experts have identified some key traits that characterize high-quality individuals.

Today, we dive into five signs you are one of these individuals. Maybe, just maybe, you’re a better person than you think. 

Let’s find out. 

1) You are empathetic

Do you often find yourself in others’ shoes, feeling their joy or pain as if it were your own? 

Have you ever felt heartbroken alongside a friend going through a tough breakup, celebrated with genuine excitement at a family member’s promotion, or felt a wave of compassion when you saw a distressed stranger on the street?

That’s empathy at work

And it’s something that most psychologists would agree is important in terms of being a high-quality person. As noted by Dr. Elizabeth A. Segal in a Psychology Today post, for instance, empathy connects us with others and “guides our moral compass.” 

Researchers have even highlighted empathy as a quintessential trait of good, high-quality people. They identified the following key reasons why empathy is so vital:

  • It motivates prosocial, helpful actions aimed at alleviating the suffering of others.
  • It inhibits harmful, aggressive behavior by allowing us to understand how our actions could negatively impact others.

If you regularly practice empathy and let it guide your actions, you are a high-quality, admirable person.

This next point is a bit more controversial but definitely thought-provoking. 

2) You choose kindness (but are capable of harm)

The psychologist Jordan Peterson has argued in numerous interviews that true goodness and virtue stem, somewhat paradoxically, from having the capacity for cruelty or harm but making the conscious choice not to act on those impulses. 

Put simply, we might say one chooses kindness even though they have the ability to be cruel. 

For example, consider someone who has been wronged or hurt deeply by another but chooses to forgive and offer kindness instead of seeking revenge when the opportunity arises. This decision reflects a profound strength of character, showing that they have the capacity for retribution but choose the higher ground of kindness.

If you possess the strength of character to resist negative impulses like cruelty and harm despite having the capacity for them, it’s a big sign that you are a high-quality person

3) You are trying to be better

In her book, The Person You Mean to Be, award-winning psychologist Dolly Chugh argues that having a growth mindset is central to being a good person. She writes: 

“We redefine what it means to be a good person as someone who is trying to be better, as opposed to someone who is allowing themselves to believe in the illusion that they are always a good person.”

Take note of that “trying to be better.” 

Basically, the idea here is that nobody is perfect, and believing you are always a perfectly good person can blind you to your flaws and prevent growth. 

High-quality people have a growth mindset—they acknowledge their shortcomings and constantly strive to improve and “be better.”

Ask yourself, do you reflect on your actions and consider how you can do better next time? Are you open to constructive criticism and willing to learn from your mistakes? Do you set personal goals to enhance your qualities and skills? 

If you are reading this post, you can probably check off this “trying to be better” trait. 

4) You strive for the greater good 

Picture this: You’re faced with a decision that could benefit you personally but at a cost to those around you. What do you do? 

In moments like these, high-quality individuals are more likely to choose what’s good for most people. They know that as Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius famously stated: “What’s bad for the hive is bad for the bee.” 

They understand that their actions ripple out, affecting the broader community, and they strive to make choices that serve the greater good, even when it requires personal sacrifice or the setting aside of immediate gratification.

This commitment to the greater good isn’t just about big, heroic acts; it’s often found in everyday choices and behaviors. It could be as simple as recycling to help the environment, volunteering in community service, or making an effort to be inclusive in social settings. 

By prioritizing the greater good, these individuals embody a key aspect of what it means to be a high-quality person: they extend their sphere of concern beyond their immediate self-interests to include the welfare of others. 

This altruistic approach fosters a more harmonious and sustainable world, reflecting a deep understanding of the interdependent nature of human existence.

5) You do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do

This one should come as no surprise. 

Being a genuinely good person means doing the right thing simply because it’s the right thing to do. As celebrated author C.S. Lewis put it, “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” 

Psychologist Seth Meyers has also pointed out that such integrity serves as “the antidote to self-interest,” highlighting that actions taken from a place of integrity are driven by a commitment to what is right rather than by a desire for personal gain or recognition. 

This means you’re looking out for what’s good and fair, not just what might benefit you​. 

In short, living with integrity means your moral compass guides you. You stick to your principles no matter what, and that’s a big sign of being a genuinely high-quality person. 

The bottom

That just about wraps it up from me today, folks. 

“A high-quality person” is certainly subjective, but if you relate to most of the above signs, chances are you are what most would consider one. 

As always, I hope you found some value in this post. 

Until next time. 

Mal James

Mal James

Originally from Ireland, Mal is a content writer, entrepreneur, and teacher with a passion for self-development, productivity, relationships, and business.

As an avid reader, Mal delves into a diverse range of genres, expanding his knowledge and honing his writing skills to empower readers to embark on their own transformative journeys.

In his downtime, Mal can be found on the golf course or exploring the beautiful landscapes and diverse culture of Vietnam, where he is now based.

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