How to be a Better Person - Hello Student

How to be a Better Person

Everyone has so much on their plate these days, young people arguably more than ever before. Whatever situation you’re in, financially, emotionally or physically, it’s important to be aware of how you fit into the bigger picture and to be empathetic and understanding of how you can do your little bit to be a little bit better.

Sara Pascoe’s Animal: The Autobiography of a Female Body words the idea of luck perfectly:

‘If you are reading this … it means you are one of the luckiest people in the world – I can presume that you live in the first world. You are educated to a high reading standard; you have leisure time and a little money and live under a government that allows you to think your own thoughts.’ You have electricity and access to the internet and technology. You are healthy enough, physically and mentally, to be broadening your mind.

I know it can be difficult to think like this, especially when you’re drowning in debt and deadlines, powered on minimal sleep and feeling like you’re lacking vital brain-cells, but perspective is everything in understanding other people and helping them.

Here are some ways you can use your luck, within your capabilities, to help make the world around you a better place for everyone. Remember, it’s important to look after yourself and make sure you have enough to give – physically and emotionally – first.

By  Rahel Girma

Be Aware Of Your Privileges

When times are tough it can be difficult to take a step back and acknowledge that things are actually pretty good in the grand scheme of things. But, recognising how your demographic and intersections effect how you move through the world will begin to help those who don’t afford the same privileges as you. For example, you may have straight privilege, allowing you to generally feel safe holding your partner’s hand in public. Or white privilege, allowing you to not consider whether the colour of your skin will affect your chances of employment and allowing you to feel safe, not scared, in the presence of the authorities. Maybe it’s male privilege, almost guaranteeing you a fool-proof sense of security when walking home at night, or justifying your assertiveness in the workplace as ‘diligent’ rather than ‘bitchy’. It may be cisgender privilege, enabling you to feel comfortable and justified in using and having access to the bathroom of your choice. Or able-bodied privilege, allowing you smooth and convenient access to anywhere. These are just a few examples that often go unnoticed to those that have them. Consider these as you move through the world and try to lighten the load and use your privileges the help those who are at a societal disadvantage.

Kindness To The Homeless

 With an 165% increase in rough sleeping since 2010, and no promised solutions, homelessness is a huge problem in the UK. If you live in a city you’ve probably witnessed this increase before your own eyes. Whether it’s a meal deal, coffee, cigarette or even just a chat whilst you wait for the bus, showing empathy and acknowledging rough sleepers is vital in showing compassion and support. You can also send their location to StreetLink, who connect with them and provide help and local services. Alternatively, donate food, clothes, toiletries or your time to your local shelter, charity or soup kitchen, if you are able to.

Support Local Businesses

Supporting up-and-coming independent business is a great way to help your local community and avoid supporting multi-national chains and corporations. Shopping at little cafes, bars, shops and stalls is a great way of ensuring that you are supporting people with probably better values, products and employee rights. Instead of contributing to overpriced, poor-quality chains, support better-intended, local independent places.

Mindful Of The Environment

Change begins at home, right? Taking baby steps towards being mindful about our damage to the environment is easier than ever these days. Whether it’s by making sure you have a keepy-cup for your flat white, ensuring that that flat white is made with a milk substitute, using your rucksack instead of a plastic bag, aborting plastic straws or shopping at markets instead of supermarkets to avoid plasticated vegetables, there’s so many little changes that you can incorporate. To echo one of the supermarkets you may henceforth be avoiding, every little helps.

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