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What does it mean to be a genuinely good person?

by Alyssa Daley - Editor in Chief
Tue, Nov 28th 2017 10:00 pm

Dear readers,

Since the holiday season has officially kicked off, even for those who would like to live in denial for as long as possible, I have decided to write my last two columns of the semester on topics related to all the impending festivities.

Whether you are crazy about them and started decorating for a holiday in December way back in October or you are still grumbling about having to put up a couple measly decorations to prove you’re not a complete holiday buzz kill I think you’re in for a treat (and not the store bought kind but the grandma’s secret recipe kind).

For the first holiday exclusive I’ve decided to snowball off the ultimate question of “what does it mean to be a genuinely good person?” It might be the second most asked question after “could you please pass the salt,” during this time of the year. We are obsessed with the juxtaposition of something equiated to evil and something equiated to good all year-round but during the holidays it becomes more blatant. 

No matter what religion you practiced as a child I think most of us were threatened with the prospect of zero presents, really horrible presents, or having to eat next to that one cousin you really couldn’t tolerate during the big holiday feast. If we failed to be well behaved during the weeks leading up to and through December those would be the consequences. 

As young adults, although some of us are still stuck at the kid’s table, being a good person is something I think we all strive to be. We’ve experienced firsthand the effects of previous generations and have watched as our parents have tried to change the course of our country to little or no avail. Right now is when on individual good deeds will mean the most. 

Our federal government is at a stalemate, only arguing with itself or passing bills that will decrease opportunities across the nation. To be as pure as the driven snow is a phrase that means to be virtuous and as it will be officially winter in the matter of a few weeks I think it fits. 

If you google the question automatically you are met with seven habits of a genuine person according to Psychology Today and then the question of “how do you describe a good person?”  Under this question lies a link to a site that provides positive adjectives to describe people. The second adjective is literally adventurous. I don’t consider the liking of adventure to be one of the mandatory requirements to be a good person.

It might sound cheesy but the best way to go about being a better human being is simply by acting like one. We do things all the time that can come off as abrasive or rude without meaning to. We talk about how technology has taken over face-to-face interaction and it shows in how we have grown accustomed to treating one another. There are a few simple acts which will not only make you feel better about yourself but will also help make an unsuspecting person’s day:

One: when a person holds the door open for you say thank you. It’s not hard to do and for the most part people aren’t holding the door open waiting to be thanked but when people don’t say anything after you do something nice for them you instinctively get in a bad mood. 

Two: try not to break a promise. Event he smallest things when not followed through have a big impact. Keeping promises not only builds trust but it also makes life easier. If you need a favor one day and someone promises that they can help you out it immediately takes some of the weight off of your shoulders.

Three: Try to give at least one person a day a true and genuine compliment. Say something nice about who they are as a person rather than some materialistic object they own. It makes all the difference.

I think the reason why we are so obsessed with being decent people is that subconsciously we are all guilty for not doing more to help someone besides ourselves. In America we’re basically taught from birth that you need to do every legal thing you can imagine to achieve your goals which often include money packaged with a barely tolerable ego. 

The holiday season isn’t the only time of the year you should focus on being the best that you can be but it is a time of reflection. Perhaps this new year instead of choosing something cliche like losing weight or saving money for a New Year’s resolution you should make volunteering at least five times a year or complimenting one person a day the goal. It’s never to late or early to start. If you’re ambitious and can’t wait you could even begin today.

As always, it’s back to the Daley grind!


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