6 Life-Changing Personality Traits

By Selma Khan • April 19, 2017

These are some of the values or practices that I personally believe in and try to apply in my life. I find that aspiring to be and do more of these things can create powerful change both in your life and others.

1. Compassion

I felt I should take an example from a recent event, the attack that happened in my home city Stockholm, Sweden. An 11 year old little girl was on her way home from school but instead got killed. So did 3 other people and a dog. I’ve personally felt incredibly sad over this incident like so many others. But knowing that thousands of people came together at the very location, the following day, to show their support and compassion, reiterates the fact that there is and will always be good in this world.

Compassion is such a powerful personality trait and it’s what keeps us all grounded and together as one human family. This kind of compassion acts as a reminder to us all that what happens to ‘one person’ or ‘a few people’ happens to all of us. The mass of people that came out to show their support and love is what compassion is all about. There are countless examples where we show empathy towards others because we get it. We all know how it feels to suffer and we want to do something to ease the pain. Being compassionate is a form of love. We don’t do it and should not be doing it because we are required to BUT because we want to. And, because we are suffering as one with the families who lost their loved ones. More of compassion is what this world needs.

2. Congruency

The psychologist Carl Rogers describes congruency as a person’s behavior being compatible to who they want to be. Most of us get really annoyed when a person acts incongruent, more so if and when we count on them. They say one thing and do something completely different. More often than not, this lot is considered fake. Acting congruent gives one a feeling of confidence and pride. We also get more credibility for actually showing up when we said we would and acting in a manner that’s consistent with whom we want to be. Practice doing the things your ideal self would do every single day to become more congruent and imbibe this personality trait.

3. Determination

Did you know that Howard Schultz, the founder of Starbucks, got rejected 217 times out of the 242 investors he contacted? This kind of determination is incredibly powerful. How many of us can honestly say that we would have kept going after even just 10 rejections? I don’t know if I would be able to continue past that. But I do know that stories like these are extremely inspiring and it just makes you wonder how much we actually miss out on by giving up too soon.

We should practice being more determined in the areas of our lives that matter the most; like not giving up on the person you love too soon or keep fighting for our dreams even though it all seems pointless and we have no support. Developing this characteristic can truly be life changing.

4. Humility

Saying you are humble doesn’t necessarily make it true. We all know that for a fact. Just look at the irony of this example. Donald Trump (and this comes from a recorded interview) is trying to compete for the world award of humblest person on earth? He quoted “I think I am actually humble. I think I am much more humble than you would understand!”. To explain what humility is NOT, this is a good example. A humble person doesn’t announce themselves as humble, that’s just annoying and arrogant. They do however show it in the way they talk, walk and act. Humility is about caring for others first, not as a sacrifice, but out of wanting to contribute and making a difference. Think about it, one is able to relate to a person who is humble rather than to a person sitting on their high horse telling everyone how great he/she is.

Humility is about putting aside our ego, pride and vanity and accepting when we are wrong. Becoming a more humble person is when we realize we are neither better than nor worse than anyone else. I believe humility is something we all can learn to practice more to minimize social stigmas like injustice and inequality and personal traits including jealousy and envy. One of the people I admire and think of when I hear the word humble is the Dalai Lama. Not only can you tell he is humble, loving and authentic, but he is also very compassionate. Acting and thinking more like him is something I aspire to do in my life.

5. Forgiving others

This is more often than not hard for everyone to do. And I’m no different. There are so many ethical and moral questions around this topic. Questions around certain acts which are so grave, they are considered unforgivable. I wish I had an answer to any of those questions, but I don’t. I only know that more often than not, forgiveness is the right thing to do. This by no ways is justifying the act of hurting another – It’s not. But, while the act might be unforgivable, a person isn’t usually all about that one act. Is that fair enough to say?

We are all more than our behaviors at times. But what is important is that you can let go of the hatred, hurt, anger or whatever you’re feeling so that you can be free to live, love and trust again. I also believe in second chances. If someone is asking for my forgiveness and really means it, I usually accept their apology (not suggesting you should too). But I will usually be a bit careful with that same person. With time and judging by their actions, I can tell how serious the person was in their apology. And if it’s a person or a group for that matter that has been highly toxic in the sense that they keep apologizing only to make the same mistakes over and over again, I wouldn’t give them a second chance of any kind. You need to cut yourself loose from ties like that. Forgive them only to move on from all the toxic feelings you have associated with them. Because holding on to your anger, hurt and resentment only makes you bitter and they don’t need to be hurting y! ou anymore than they already have?

6. Forgiving oneself

This might be even harder than forgiving others, because we are usually much harder on ourselves than we’d like to admit. But only because it’s hard to do, doesn’t mean it’s any less important. In fact it is an extremely important step to becoming a fully mature, happy and fulfilled human being. If this is hard for you it means you really need to do this. If it’s easy for you, that is great but just make sure you don’t go around making the same mistakes over and over. Respect your own values, who you are and what you stand for. Making mistakes, grave or small, is a part of being human. No one is perfect. Reflect on what you did, vow to not do that again.

Respect your promise for a reason and accept what happened. Say you forgive yourself and you are ready to move on. You are worthy of a second chance and if no one else is willing to give it to you, give it to yourself and prove that you are worthy of it, whatever it maybe that you have done. If you keep making the same mistakes over and over, you might want to seek help from outside because maybe there is that something out of your control. Maybe you still don’t fully understand it and it’s better to get help rather than beating yourself up about how you are unable to keep a promise with yourself and others.

Thank you for reading! If you like this post, please share it with your community, friends and family.

Choose to be happy,

Selma

Originally posted on my blog www.khanselma.com

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