So what is your definition of a good person? Someone ethical, who lives a moral lifestyle? And what exactly is that anyway? Trust me on this one. If you wish to lead your best life, being “good” is the way to go. Happy people build their inner world, not just their outer world.

You say you’re a decent guy or girl. Oh, yeah? What good have you done lately? Remember, beliefs have to be put into actions. Have you made a difference in this world somehow? Still pointing fingers? Better first make sure your hands are clean, my friends. How often do you blame your wife, husband, the boss, or your friends when you make a mistake? They say you learn from your mistakes. So you’re making as many as possible, eh? Soon you’ll be a genius.

Here are some of my tips and tricks to being a fine person. Try running to the car when she gets home from grocery shopping, and give her a hand lugging in all those treats she bought for y’all. You know there are 500 shopping carts in the store, and somehow you always manage to pick the one with the front wheel that likes to pirouette like a ballerina on speed. Me, too.

Just say “Hello” to a stranger on the street today. Believe it or not, helping others is the quickest way to feel better about yourself. Be excited for someone else’s triumphs and commend and congratulate them. We could all use a bit of praise. Someone held the door for you at the bank? Please don’t forget to actually say “Thank you.” Someone else let it slam in your face? Don’t mirror their behavior. Never let the way others act determine the way you do. Stay polite and kind in spite of them.

Be more courageous, and consider trying something brand new – even if it scares you a bit. There’s nothing quite like it to help build your self-confidence. You know how you’re not always right, but you’re never wrong? Observe how tolerant you are of other people’s ideas, choices, and values. Believe it or not, your opinion may not always be undeniable truth.

Let’s face it. People who are all wrapped up in themselves make pretty small packages. Show more appreciation. You put so much thought into their present that now it’s too late to get it? Nope. Bring a token or small goodie if you are invited somewhere, or for no reason at all. “I still want to be invited even though I’m not coming.” You know the feeling, right? But, there’s nothing quite like an unexpected gift. Offer to lend a helping hand to someone you know who really needs it. Look at who the person can be; even if they are not that right now, and please be gracious.

The truth is that when we act badly, we do so for a reason. Overeating, gossiping, drinking too much, or taking drugs numbs us from pain, which we may not want to face. You might act out a lot because you felt very controlled at one point in your life and want to feel freedom. The sooner you get to know what is behind your negative behaviors, the quicker you can work on letting them go.

The hardest challenge of all is taking responsibility for our choices and owning our mistakes. Ouch, I know. Isn’t it funny what good lawyers we are for our own mistakes, but what great judges we are for the mistakes of others? Sometimes we are so busy judging each day by the harvest we think we should be reaping, that we forget to plant the seeds.

All that stuff you’ve accumulated isn’t worth a dime without someone to share it with. So be generous and hospitable. Being giving keeps the things you own from owning you.

Please don’t underestimate the importance of your actions, sweet friends. Putting the air conditioner on arctic setting? Today’s forecast at work: “I can’t feel my face degrees.” What is good for you may not be the best for others. Then again, I didn’t want to run the air conditioner because it’s so expensive; so I spent the day at Target and spent $300. Heh.

Are you the one who stays to help clean up after the party? Thank you for going the extra mile. Then again, I always go the extra mile. That’s what happens when you get lost easily. And please do not display your smiley face to the world while taking out your problems on those closest to you. Bad things happen to all of us. The best we can do is to become better because of them.

Whatever you do, please don’t take things for granted. It’s been said: “When you take things for granted, the things you are granted – get taken.” Go out there and be a blessing and your best ever. After all: “We are all guilty of the good we did not do.”

Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens.  She works with individuals, couples, and families.  Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends.  She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or at