1. You are Driven by Good Intentions, Love and Compassion
We all make mistakes from time to time, and we have a tendency to really beat ourselves up every time something we said or did hurt another person, even when it was absolutely unintentional. The truth is, there is no reason for you to think that you are a bad person because of a minor mistake you did, as you intentions are what matters the most.
In fact, moral philosophers and psychologists alike assure readers that having positive intentions is a sure sign you might be a better person than you might think. When you act out of courage, patience, love, compassion and willingness to help, and let these positive intentions drive your life, you become a more centered, genuine, and simply a better person.
2. You Consider Yourself a Good Person (for the Most Part)
Morality, like so many other things in this world, is relative. Of course, we all agree on the basics: killing, stealing and cheating are all very bad and immoral things, but then again, in our day-to-day life, we don’t usually deal with either of those, and the smaller everyday moral dilemmas are what define our personal moral compass.
So, if for you a good person is a caring person, and for someone else, a good person is someone who gives others enough space to work through their own problems, your ideas may clash. The bottom line is that a good person is one that has a multitude of different, sometimes opposing, characteristics, and the fact that you don’t meet one of those characteristics doesn’t mean you’re a bad person.
Instead of adopting this binary approach, which can be toxic to your self-esteem, psychologist Dr. Paul DePompo suggests defining a good person using 3-5 words, and if you apply to most, you can consider yourself a (relatively) good person.
So, if you believe that a good person has to be friendly, helpful, thoughtful and generous, but you are an introvert and find it difficult to communicate with others, you can still consider yourself a good person. Try to do this exercise on your own, and you might just be surprised to hear the answer.
3. You Recognize Your Biases and Mistakes
No one is perfect, but how you react to your own mistakes and whether or not you can recognize your own biases can tell a lot about the kind of person you are. Dolly Chugh, a psychologist at New York University describes this very well in one of her books, where she points out that it’s better to confront the mistakes we’ve made and to even seem less perfect in the eyes of others than to deny said mistake.
She calls this category of people “goodish”, as they are able to see that they’re not perfect, but they actively try to improve. In fact, most people are not 100% good or bad, but goodish, as they are constantly learning from their own mistakes, while still making new ones.
4. You Make Time Both for Yourself and Others
Helping and supporting other people is a known virtue, there is no argument there. More than that, medical professionals point out that helping people is an ingrained human quality that has many psychological and physical health benefits. It can lift your mood and give you a sense of meaning and purpose, both of which are very important for a happy life.
That being said, you don’t have to dedicate all of your time and effort to help others to be a good person. In fact, a little bit of “selfishness” can even be beneficial, as all of us need a little bit of rest and relaxation from time to time. In fact, most people enjoy helping others more when they have their own lives sorted out first.
5. You are Ready to Learn from Your Mistakes and Life's Challenges
When it comes to overcoming difficulties, people are divided into 2 categories: those who surrender, and those who perceive life’s challenges as that they are (challenges). The more you are capable to take the active stance of the two, the better you become as a person, professional, parent, etc.
Carol Dweck, PhD, a psychology professor at Stanford, calls this active stance in life “the growth mindset”, as people who believe they can improve in life and overcome obstacles are destined to develop their talents and life skills. So, if you find that you can learn from your mistakes and you feel like you’ve changed and evolved a lot through the years, you are better than you might think.
6. In Relationships, You Take Responsibility for Your Actions and Communicate
If you manage to maintain healthy and meaningful relationships with others, you are likely a better person than you think. Do you treat your friends and loved ones with respect, do you stay in touch with them and can take responsibility for your actions?
If so, you are a terrific person to be around, and your family and friends cherish you for the caring and attentive person that you are. What else could you wish for? As Karen Meager, a famous life coach, said in an interview to The Telegraph “You can be assertive without being aggressive, supportive without rescuing other people, and you can be vulnerable without expecting people to save you."