9 signs you’re becoming a better person, according to psychology

We all change as we get older. The more life we experience, the more it shapes our personality, behaviors, and daily habits.

The thing we all hope for is that we’re changing for the better. To know for sure, you have to reflect on your behavior and how you feel about things.

Psychology says there are at least 9 things that will happen to you when you’re changing for the better; starting with the following…

1) You have more patience than you used to

What did you used to do when your mom took ages to change the TV channel? Did you get annoyed, snatch it off her, and do it yourself – all the while hurling insults about how slow she is at technology?

I think you already know that if the answer was (or still is) yes, you didn’t have a lot of patience!

Experts say that if you’re patient, you’re more likely to be understanding, rational, and focused. You also probably make people feel relaxed and comfortable around you, which is a great thing.

So if you let your mom fiddle with the remote for as long as she likes without so much as a sigh, hats off to you! Your patience has grown – and so have you.

2) You listen, rather than offer advice

It’s easier said than done, right? When people open up to you about how they feel, it’s so easy to want to jump in and offer advice.

But psychologists say that when people open up about their feelings, they want to feel heard – not patronized or ordered around.

If you respond to people by sharing your problems, dismissing their issues with an “I’m sure you’ll be fine”, or telling them what they need to do, this isn’t good.

But if you sit back and listen; nodding along, asking open-ended questions, and being empathetic, you’re a better person than most!

3) You give up your free time to help people in need

When you’re a good person, you help others. You even help people you don’t particularly like that much… which really isn’t easy to do!

When you don’t like someone or if you’re busy, it’s tempting to brush them off, ignore their text, and avoid offering them help (even when you know they need it).

But when you’re becoming a better person, you make the offer. You text a friend back even when you’re super tired. You ask someone how they’re doing, even though you know you’ll end up hearing about their problems for hours. And you willingly give up your weekend if someone truly needs your help.

4) You don’t enjoy gossiping anymore

Did everyone else used to love gossiping, or was it just me? When I first started work, I loved hearing about what everyone else was up to!

I wouldn’t spread any rumors myself. But I definitely asked more questions than I should have to see if other people would spill the beans!

But gossiping like this (I realized years later) was a bad habit to get into. Talking about people behind their backs isn’t nice. If the person found out you were doing it, they probably wouldn’t be happy about it.

As Susan Clarke, B.B.A from Quora expertly put it to someone who doesn’t gossip:

“You sound like a nice person and make the world a better place. We need more people like you in this world”.

…and she’s right! Choosing not to gossip anymore is an integral, respectful thing to do. So if you’ve ditched the habit for good, you’re a better person for it.

5) You do good things without being told to

Good people are considerate towards the people around them. It’s easy to say or even think you’re a considerate person.

Like if your mom asked you to unload the dishwasher and you do it. Or if you unload the dishwasher because you know your mom will reward you for it later.

But that isn’t really considerate behavior. The true definition of a considerate person is someone who does good things without being told to – and without doing it to get something in return.

Like if you brush past a clothes rail in a store and a bunch of them fall on the floor. No one will know that you’ve picked them back up. Just like no one will know that you’ve done it!

But you pick them up and hang them back on the rail anyway. Because even though you know you won’t be rewarded for it, and no one asked you to do it, you know it’s the right thing to do. And a considerate thing, too!

Speaking of rewards….

6) You do good things without expecting something in return

We kind of touched upon this above, but it still needs its own heading. When I was younger, I confess that I did good things for the reward all the time!

I was always helping out my parents so I’d get more pocket money. Or treating my friends to things for a better gift on my birthday.

But the thing is, this isn’t true kindness. Experts say that selfless habits (i.e., doing good without expecting something back in return) make someone a genuinely nice and good person.

If you do things like this all the time and never think to yourself, “This person owes me now” or, “They have to help me because I help them” – you’ve become a better person already!

7) You feel genuinely happy for other people

It isn’t always easy to feel happy for other people when good things happen to them. Jealousy is almost always to blame! Alongside a feeling of insecurity and inadequacy in yourself.

I know, I’ve been there. When a friend of mine got engaged when I’d just ended a long-term relationship, I knew I was happy for her. But in honesty, I wasn’t that happy for her… I felt sad and more jealous than I’d like to admit.

Whereas when a different friend got engaged years later, I felt pure joy fill me up inside! I felt genuinely happy for her, even though I didn’t have what she had.

If you feel this way about your friends, family, colleagues, or just people you’ve only met a couple of times, you’re a good person. And if you feel this way even when you’re going through bad times, you definitely have a good soul!

8) You let go of grudges

Boy, did I used to hold a grudge! If someone did or said something to hurt me, I’d cut them out and never forgive them – no matter how many times they apologized.

As I got older, I became way more understanding of the people around me. I accepted the fact that people make mistakes.

I also accepted that when someone apologizes and stops doing the things that hurt you, that really is all they can do.

When you reach a place of forgiveness like this, it feels good. Letting go of the past and giving people your forgiveness when they ask for it is something a good person does.

And if you do it more than you don’t these days, you’re a way better person than you think!

9) You accept other people’s opinions (without trying to change their minds!)

Not to share my life story in this article, but this is another thing I was definitely guilty of years ago!

If someone believed something that I didn’t, it really, really bothered me. I wanted to debate with them about it. I wanted to argue with them over it. And sometimes, I secretly disliked the person for a long, long time because of it…

The experts (and the me of today!) know that this argumentative behavior isn’t that of a good person. Judging someone else for their opinions and being unable to accept them for it isn’t very understanding.

When you become a better person, you know this is wrong. You know that everyone is different. And even when someone believes in something that really shocks you, you don’t bite.

You accept that they believe [that] and you believe [this]. And there’s nothing you can do (or would ever want to do) to change their mind.

Final thoughts

Was this a helpful article or a confessional? Hopefully, it was at least a helpful confessional!

The point I’m trying to make by sharing all these stories is that just because you did some things in the past, that doesn’t mean you’re a bad person forever.

People change and grow – including you! And your past doesn’t define who you are in the present.

If you’ve always done the things on this list, you’re a pretty great person already – and that’s something to be proud of!

If you’re only just starting to recognize these traits, the experts say you’re becoming the best version of yourself – and that’s something to be even more proud of.

So keep doing what you’re doing; living, learning, and growing – being the best person you’ve ever been!

Amy Reed

Amy Reed is a content writer from London working with international brands. As an empath, she loves sharing her life insights to help others. When she’s not writing, she enjoys a simple life of reading, gardening, and making a fuss over her two cats.

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