If there was one piece of advice I could give everyone it would be to live honestly.
This concept works on multiple levels.
The first is in regards to yourself.
Self improvement takes honest reflection. You won’t make significant progress if you gloss over your problems or if you are overly critical. Learn to see yourself in a positive, humble light, and growth will occur.
This requires you to frequently take stock of your behavior, your life and your emotions. Don’t judge yourself too harshly, but do learn to prune your thought patterns and behavior actively. To do this, incorporate journaling, meditation, long walks and yoga into your daily habits. This will give you time to mull over your thoughts and behaviors and then therefore make better choices in the future.
The second is in regards to others.
Taking this a step further, be yourself. Don’t try to conform to how you think other people want to see you. The more genuine you are, the more likely you’ll be to find others who accept you for you. This is obviously a tough thing to accomplish, but once you realize that everyone else is looking for the same acceptance you’re searching for, you’ll realize that we’re all on the same level. Those who judge are insecure and need love. Those who don’t judge will accept and nurture you into the person you should be. Seek these people out and try to be one of them. This freedom will decrease the self-concious pressure we all feel, therefore making you a happier person.
The third is in regards to society in general.
Dishonestly will make you have anxiety and shame, both of which are poisonous emotions to deal with. Dishonesty will also make others dislike you and feel hurt or offended. Therefore, to be the best member of your community, act in such a way that values yourself and your relationship with others. Refuse to lie. I’m not suggesting that you behave with no filter and say whatever you want to say. Few people actually like Howard Stern. What I am suggesting is to live with a sense of integrity that takes responsibility for your actions and words.
The fourth is in regards to the world at large.
This might be a stretch for some, but once you’ve accepted yourself and found a community of people who accept you, the next logical step is to incorporate a conscious behavior regarding nature. This means that other creatures, both plant and animal, deserve the same respect you give to yourself and your community. This might be as simple as reducing, reusing and recycling, or it might be as active as joining a group of people who are calling for the protection of the environment. Get involved with ways of thinking that call you to a better lifestyle, and make others do the same.
If you learn to live honestly on all of these levels, you’ll have found a real sense of peace and purpose. Your conscious, free behavior will prevent guilt and anxiety from controlling your perspective, and your humble sense of self will allow others to be who they are, thus providing room for not understanding their behavior, yet accepting them anyways.
I’m not the first to come up with this perspective. Many religions uphold the same goal. Be it the golden rule, the Noble Eightfold Path or the way of Tao. All of these teach how to live honestly within your community in such a way that encourages you to find peace and happiness. No matter your religion, these sources can help you find your own truth, live honestly and become your best, happiest self.