In our world dominated by social media, photoshopped ads, and superficial values, it’s hard to pinpoint what a person of substance actually is, let alone be one. We’re constantly bombarded with pictures and commercials showing attractive, accomplished people wearing expensive clothes and driving flashy cars.

The mass media imposes a certain role model of a successful person and regular people do their best to reach that, for many, unattainable goal. But, these shallow representations don’t go even an inch beyond that shiny exterior. To become a person of substance, we need to go deeper than the skin and do some soul-searching.

Find out who you really are

There’s no way to be a person of substance without knowing yourself. Sure, your identity has many layers, but you need to know your true self, stripped of all external roles. It’s important to have your  integrity and know who you really are and what you want. Society inevitably tries to mould you, but you need to set yourself free from its constraints. Men should be strong and masculine. Women should be feminine and polished all the time. Real men don’t cry. These misconceptions can be very dangerous because they force people into becoming something that they aren’t. The key to your personal growth is being aware of your strengths and weaknesses and using them to become the best version of yourself. Don’t try to please anyone but yourself.

Be empathetic

People are social beings, and only by making strong connections with others can you feel fulfilled. Research shows that empathy is something that you can learn, and not necessarily born with, so go the extra mile to put yourself in somebody else’s shoes and practice that approach as much as you can.

Compassion is something that can change your life and make you a better and more substantial person. Don’t judge others and try to understand what their motivations are instead. Don’t forget that everybody carries an invisible burden and that sometimes even a single kind word or act can make a tremendous difference. Be compassionate towards your friends, family, colleagues, and strangers, but most of, be compassionate towards yourself. In order to be able to help others and relieve their pain, you first need to attend to your own needs. This is the principle that nurses, caregivers, or in-home care professionals follow so that they can handle demands of their job and provide the best service.

Always be consistent

Being a reliable person who always sticks to their word is something that will make you a worthy person. It’s easier said than done, because many times unexpected obstacles and situations come along, and many people succumb to the temptation to break their promises. But, a person of substance does things even when they don’t feel like it. However, this consistency doesn’t apply only when others are involved, so make sure to be consistent even if your plans and goals are at stake. Such an approach will help you be able to rely on your own strengths. It’s a great feeling when you know that you can count on
yourself.

Don’t be a brag

A person of substance never blows their own horn. Bragging about yourself and boosting your own ego is something will only alienate people and make you look superficial. Let your actions speak louder than your words, and someone will take a notice and spread the word. Learn how to be humble and stop comparing yourself to others.

Start really listening

People are usually self-centered and they’re not particularly interested in listening to what others have to say. This leads to a lot of misunderstandings, not to mention that it’s hard to actually establish a connection with someone if you don’t hear what they say. Active listening is a skill that can help you become a good interlocutor, as well as someone that people trust and respect. This doesn’t mean that you have to agree with everything people say, but you need to let it sink in so that you can understand where they come from.

Learn and experience new things

The best way to become a person of substance is to challenge yourself to learn new things all the time. Take up belly dancing lessons or start hitting the gym on a regular basis. Apart from learning something new, such activities will also help you improve your physical and mental health. This is how you’ll expand your horizons and understand the world and life better. Get out of your comfort zone and do something that scares you. And remember that “Everything you’ve always wanted is on the other side of
fear.”

Although style undoubtedly matters, it’s the substance that adds quality and value to your life.

By: Olivia Jones