Thursday, June 11, 2015

How Can I be a Better Person?

In the 1997 movie As Good as it Gets, Jack Nicholson’s character tells his ladylove, “You make me want to be a better person”. While this might seem corny 18 years later, there is much to think about here.

We all have people in our lives that elevate our behavior. These people take the high road; they show patience and compassion, which we view with awe. Being around them just ups our game. Their kind of energy and behavior is a very positive influence on our lives.

Mighty Mouse


And then there are the people in our circle that we can truly say, “I don’t like me when I am with you”. In a recent conversation with good friends this very topic came up. I actually broached the subject when I found myself reacting to someone else’s rage by disregarding my ‘good judgment’ and saying things I later regretted. Not that these things didn’t need to be said, but it was the manner in which I expressed myself that I regret.

I take full responsibility for what comes out of my mouth and what flies off the pages. However, it is not lost on me that we all have those people in our lives who can ‘push our buttons’ like no others can.


Frog with Large Mouth

There are many articles written (mine included) that give sage advice on how to avoid going down the verbal lane that leaves behind many wounded, including ourselves. Some of the most common bits of wisdom are:

  • Take a time out

  • Don’t use the argument as an excuse to dump years of anger

  • Give the other person the chance to talk

  • Address only the issues

  • Don’t yell or talk in anger

  • Agree to disagree

The truth of the matter is that sometimes these rules just don’t work. Sometimes we have to make difficult choices. Some relationships are simply toxic. And although there can be much sadness in the loss of a friendship, there often is a defining moment when it is VERY clear that changes need to be made. Not every friendship is meant to last a lifetime. When we stop being nice to one another or when we take that person for granted or when we feel there is more anxiety than happiness, perhaps it is time to close this chapter. This is never easy to do, for we often spend endless hours thinking about the good times. We often drag out pictures of silliness and laughter we had once enjoyed. We do this at the same time we question whether we truly want to permanently end all contact.  But in the end, it is in our best interest to use sound judgment and if need be, give ourselves permission to move on.

During our lifetime we teach others how to treat us by what we expect and what we ultimately accept. My personal gauge: I am close to people when I feel ‘good about me’ being in their company. These people don’t demand, they ask. They appreciate, they do NOT keep score.

Each one of us should have our own personal list of what is a deal breaker in our relationships. Spending time with positive people can make us want to be a better person by being around them.

Don’t you agree?

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How Can I be a Better Person?