By BARTON GOLDSMITH
Scripps Howard News Service
When you are a person of honor and integrity, it keeps you on a purposeful and enriching path. It also helps you maintain a positive outlook on life and generally makes you a happier person. This is because when you stand firm in your beliefs and behaviors, the feedback you get from others validates you and your actions.
When you walk your talk and do the right things, it makes your world a better place, both for you and for those you care about. It's not about wanting other people to think and act the way you do; it's about being tolerant and keeping a proper perspective. The idea here is to be your best self without compromising your values. You'll feel better for it, as will others around you.
If you feel that what's good for those you love is also good for you, then you've created a balanced life. Envy is never part of the equation. Seeing a loved one or a business associate succeed should bring a feeling of joy. People who possess this quality know that the good that comes to others will also affect them in a positive way. They also believe in helping people, for they know that doing this just makes your circle (of people and influence) stronger.
Being a good person also means giving others the room they need to be themselves, even if you don't agree with some of their actions.
All you can do is be the best you can be and hope that other people see it, like it and want to emulate it. Knowing the outcome of putting out positive energy makes it easier to do and also gives you the sense that your purpose in life is greater than you may have suspected.
When you enjoy doing the right thing and don't expect much in return, you actually get a lot back. Teaching others to "pay it forward" and being an example of that ideal is another way you can use who you are to make changes in those you touch, each and every day.
When you employ the attitude of being your best self, and your focus is toward the highest good, your sense of who you really are will get stronger, and you will get more out of life. You will get a wonderful feeling from doing the right thing. This feeling is unmistakable and can come from taking action to help those in need or from making the world a tiny bit better in any way you can.
Living your life in the best way possible is a win-win. Being here just for yourself is unfulfilling. It's how we all pull together that makes the world a better place. I really don't know how else to do it. Getting an entire planet on the same page isn't really possible, so I think it best to do all you can in your own little corner of the globe and trust that your actions will spill over and have a positive effect on many.
(Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author, most recently, of "100 Ways to Boost Your Self-Confidence -- Believe in Yourself and Others Will Too." Email him at Barton@BartonGoldsmith.com.)