How To Be A Less Terrible Person


No one is perfect. And no one is irredeemable. Not even you.

Granted, you’re pretty far gone. You’re close to the line. But even you can improve. Maybe. Slightly.

Slow and incremental improvement is the most we can ask for, and we’re talking about small-ass increments. This may be beyond your capabilities, but you may as well give it a swing. At least it will keep you busy and distract you from doing any more damage.

Before you change for the better, you must accept that this is where you are. This is who you are. And it’s not good.

Buckle up, friend, because you are about to confront yourself, in all your miserable glory.

It’s about to get real. However, it won’t be real fun. Because it won’t be fun.

Here are four steps to help you get started on your journey toward being a slightly less terrible person.

Take a fearless personal inventory and realize that you are terrible.

Up to this point, introspection has not been your friend. You have no idea how terribly you come off in the eyes of others. You drink, you hide, and you put on an act, all in a silly quest to insulate yourself in layers of nonsense. Your absence of self-awareness has been keeping you from breaking down in tears as you soil your pants on the subway.

Now it is time to take a good, hard look at yourself. It is time to realize that all the things you like about yourself are cruel and hilarious lies, and all the things you were suspicious might be problems for you are much more odious than you could have anticipated, worse than you had the capacity to realize.

This is going to make you sick. Physically ill. So take a few days off work, forget about those long-suffering souls you consider your friends — they will appreciate not having to think about you for a few days — and put a nice, large bucket next to your bed.

When you’ve done all this, breathe. Breathe slowly, into your belly. Let go of your ego. Observe your thoughts as if they are bubbles rising through the water. And take a good, hard look at yourself, deep inside. Ask yourself,“What went wrong?”

Stay quiet.

Leave the rest of us out of this.

This inquiry may go on for quite some time. Years, even. It may take you a long time to tally up all the things about you that suck, and it will likely take you even longer to be honest with yourself and accept how awful your behavior, character, and ketosis stench have been.

As you work through this process, shut up. Seriously. Shut up. Don’t open your mouth again, for any reason, until further notice.

In the beginning of this inquiry, as you begin to get real about your many flaws, you may be impressed with yourself. Realize that this will not impress others, as this is basic stuff they all got hashed out many, many years ago, probably in high school. No one wants to hear about your pedestrian journey of personal growth — it took you an unconscionably long time to start getting your life sorted, but that’s depressing, not interesting.

Above all else, please, please spare us your worthless and ridiculous advice. If you think you’ve gained any wisdom, you have truly learned nothing.

Keep moving.

There’s no point in apologizing for all the many heinous things you’ve done. It’s too late to undo the damage, and no one will accept your apology. Just hearing from you again will further wound and enrage.

Your regret is your own problem, not anyone else’s. To expect forgiveness, or even to want it, reminds us that you are still a selfish creep, deep down.

The best you can do for yourself and for others is to walk away from the smoldering wreckage, never reach out again to the people you have wronged, alienated, and skeeved out, and try not to repeat your mistakes. You probably will. But try not to.

Begin again.

We are all newbies now. As soon as we get the hang of something, the rules change. Currents shift. Software updates. Everyone else grows up while you retain the emotional maturity of a nine-year-old in stained sweatpants.

Adopt a beginner’s mind. Surrender your ego. Surrender your silly dreams of personal progress. The most you can ask for is an open mind, a willingness to learn, and a new social circle you haven’t yet burned with your selfish, thoughtless, imbecilic clownery.

Give it all up. Let all your dreams die screaming. For your new self to be born, your old self must die. And that’s what your old self deserves.

As your sad and ridiculous self-image is crushed under reality’s cruel heel, the world blooms with the vengeful joy of schadenfreude.

It’s going to hurt. It’s supposed to. Suck it up. Start over from absolute zero.

Someone else will gladly do it for you. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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