I have often written about what makes a good or bad husband, wife, or parent. In today’s climate, given all that is going on in the world, I often find myself taking pause, and wondering, “What is wrong with people today?”
I am disturbed not only by what I see and hear on social media, but by things that our own leaders are saying and doing. While I do wholeheartedly believe that there are more good in this world than bad, and more good people than bad people, I have frequently pondered what qualities make a good person.
The qualities that make a good person obviously translate into many areas of your life. Possessing these qualities helps you to be a great partner, parent, friend, and boss or employee. I have observed a lot or people and relationships, and read a lot about this topic. As a result, I have come up with 10 qualities that I believe make a good person and that all good people possess.
10 Qualities Of a Good Person
All relationships, whether platonic, professional or romantic, are built on trust. It is the foundation upon which all the building blocks are placed. If you feel a need to lie or be less than completely honest, clearly you are not conducting yourself in a respectable way.
When a person lies, it means they know that what they did was wrong, yet they chose to do it anyway. For the most part, good people don’t to that. When they do, they own it rather than lie about it. Additionally, they apologize and go to great lengths to repair the damage they may have caused.
Empathy is “the ability to understand and share the feelings of others” (Apple Dictionary). That means when someone is happy, you can share in their joy, or when someone is sad or angry, you can appreciate what they are feeling and why…even when you don’t necessarily agree with them.
When everything is not about you, and you are able to show empathy, it makes you a better person. Those who show a complete lack of empathy are narcissistic and difficult people to have relationships or interact with.
Are you the type of person who will stand by your employee or partner no matter what? Or are you the type that runs away as soon as the going gets tough? Are you always there for your friends and family, even when it means putting your personal business temporarily on hold?
A person who is faithful to their partners, follows through with commitments and obligations, even when it is uncomfortable to do so, is loyal and desirable. The people in your life will know that they can always count on you and that you won’t disappear when things are less than perfect.
Good people are able to work well with others to a common end. This means you must be willing to both speak up and to listen, with equal conviction. You must accept that things will not always be done “your way,” but you can appreciate that sometimes other people have good ideas, too, and you’re willing to give those ideas a try. This is an important quality in being a good person, because people like to feel both heard and valued. Being cooperative demonstrates both.
A good person is not phony and does not pretend to be something other than who they really are. They don’t feel the need to act a certain way or go along with things that don’t feel true to themselves. They speak their mind, honestly and kindly, not leaving others to wonder if they are being real or what their true thoughts and feelings are.
People who are not authentic are not typically viewed as good people, as those around them never really know their position on anything.
When most of us hear the word creativity, we often think of an artist or a musician. While they are typically creative types of individuals, I am referring to something quite different here. I am referring to the ability to “think outside the box” and demonstrate unique or creative ways to solve problems. Rather than being hell bent on how things should be, you’re willing to explore how things can be.
While most people think of a seductive romance when they hear the word passion, it is really all about having powerful, strong and compelling feelings and convictions. In other words, believe what you believe, and do it wholeheartedly.
Stand up for what you believe in and don’t let anyone tell you that your feelings or beliefs are wrong. If you’re passionate about loving someone, then love them with all your heart. If you’re passionate about becoming a scientist or an artist, then go for it with all your enthusiasm.
Follow your heart and follow your dreams. Don’t ever let the passion in your life die.
This is the ability to recover from difficulties and hardships and to come back even stronger than before. No matter how hard someone tries to knock you down, you just keep getting up and proving them wrong. It takes inner strength and a heck of a lot of courage to demonstrate this quality.
But if you lack this quality, you are likely a quitter and take other’s criticisms too literally, without considering that they might be wrong in their judgment. Being able to overcome and grow from the challenges you’ve faced in your life makes you a better person.
Being sensitive doesn’t have to mean you’re a babbling crybaby who overreacts to everything. Rather, it can simply mean that you are kind and polite and care about others. Showing compassion is a way of showing that you are sensitive to the needs and struggles of others. This is always a desirable quality to possess.
I’m talking about the psychological type of insight here, whereby you have “an understanding of relationships that sheds light on or helps solve a problem”. This is to say that you know why you have the issues you have, and why your partner or loved one or friends or boss behave the way they do.
When you have insight and understanding into these issues, you are better able to mitigate negative interactions and it helps you avoid or at least solve problems more effectively.
At the end of the day, only you can decide what kind of person you want to be. You can always be building on your strengths and overcoming your weaknesses. It is truly never too late to become a better person.
Lori Freson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Southern California. She has been working in the mental health field since 1997, and has been a licensed therapist since 2002. Lori currently works in her own thriving private practice in Encino and Sherman Oaks, where she serves the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles areas. Contact Lori at lorifresontherapy.com or call/text 818-514-LMFT