Before I dive in, first thing’s first — you must acknowledge and understand that the precedent you set for how you treat others teaches them how to treat you. You show others how to treat you by the way you treat them and yourself.
When it comes to treating people better, it’s not only about them, but the way you feel about yourself that offers a reflection of your action or inaction in quality behavior. Treating people better will become second-nature to you once you truly inherit these life lessons.
1. Accept others without judgment
A person is not their past, though their past may have led them to this moment and meeting you. Do not focus on what was; focus on what is and how you can help that person better accept, understand, appreciate, and show themselves respect in the present. These qualities will emulate how they treat others. Be there for them. Truly listen to them. Make an effort to understand their body language as much as their speech. Do not judge others. Do not judge yourself. Accept your friends. Accept people as they are. Do not try and change them into something they’re not. Embrace them as they are. Allow them to be comfortable in their own skin.
2. Do not belittle someone else’s sense of self-worth to enhance your own
What makes someone unique is not the same thing that makes you unique. You cannot compare yourself in such a way that diminishes the individuality of someone’s spirit in an effort to boost your own morale. It will work in reverse, and you will end up feeding negative qualities instead. Support each other with unwavering kindness, patience, and acceptance. It’s really not as hard as it seems. Jealousy is an ugly trait. Everyone has their strong suits and weaknesses. We are not better than one another, only different.
3. Love genuinely
A word that should not be passed around like a bag of chocolates at a party, “love” is a conditional emotion dependent upon the shared adoration between two people, whether in friendships, relationships, or between family. When you love someone, you set the tone for emotional success between you. Caring for someone wholeheartedly is a true gift that most can achieve through the realization that all relationships, whether friendships, romantic, or between family, take hard work. But, they are always worth the effort when you truly care about their wellbeing. Keep in mind that loving genuinely does not mean you are flawless in your treatment of the other person, but also means acknowledging your faults, accepting them, and making efforts to resolve conflicts.
4. Acknowledge the fact that everyone you meet comes into your life for a reason
… because you create that purpose for them! Everything in life that has a purpose is something you create through perspective, attitude, and character. Appreciate the lessons in life you achieve with every person you come across. Our paths are molded by our actions. Whether the time you know each other lasts moments, weeks, months, years, or the rest of forever, it comes back to not making the relationship into something it’s not but appreciating it for what it is. Value the lessons you learn from others and how they mold you into a better human being. Use those lessons to help more people you come across later in life. There will always be opportunities to make new friends and increase your networks. If the relationship does not go the way you want or anticipate, remember what Dr. Suess said, “Don’t be sad it’s over. Smile because it happened.”
Through our relationships with others, we learn what we do and do not want to tolerate. We learn to become better versions of ourselves. We become stronger. We become more emotionally intelligent. We become ourselves. Acknowledge the bad moments you have shared with people, but do not live in them. Choose to live in the lessons with positivity, hope, and courage. Loving someone, whether romantically, through friendship, or between family, is brave. Do not fear to be vulnerable. It is an admirable human trait.
5. Forgive the people who have hurt you
Odds are that the people who hurt you are those that care about you most and vice-versa. Do not live in the bad feelings. Don’t say yes to sh*t you hate, but also don’t give up on the overall good of a romantic relationship, friendship, or one between family if you know they are more good than bad for you. Know when to continue forward with them, and know when to continue forward alone. Do what is healthy for you both. Be strong with emotional wellness.
Forgiveness is another admirable human trait worth truly living with throughout your life. Life is too short to seek vengeance and not forgive.
6. Support their inner-struggles
Do not feed their inner-struggles. Know when to step back. Know when you are the person who can help them, when they need to help themselves, and when they need to see an outside source for help. Everyone has battles. Everyone is always a work in progress. Life is always a work in progress because life is a journey. No one is ever full, in that everyone is always changing at some level. Change is the only constant. Embrace a person’s imperfections as the beauty and love they can offer.
Whether we change in big or small ways, there is always an opportunity for growth, development, and shedding of old layers. New selves may be moments away, people away, or years of therapy later. Whatever it is, listen to what your people need. Ask them how they want to be treated. Ask them how you can help. Do not do everything for them. Interdependence is inherently valuable. They must learn to stand on their own two feet, and, when they do, you can stand together all the better.
Be yourselves. Be comfortable. Be kind. Be patient. Be well. Be happy. Be healthy. These are the true keys to successful friendships, romantic relationships, and those shared among family members. Authentic support, authentic selves, authentic kindness, and the ability to persist through hard times will get you so far. Nothing will ever be perfect, and how boring if it were!
Know that every relationship you have in life will take work, but those that care for you in the ways you want to be cared for will always be worth it. Take time for them in this life. People are what matter.