6 Personality Traits worth Adopting

Over the last couple of years, I’ve written numerous articles and posts on difficult people, personalities and relationships: Everything from Manipulative Marys to Bullies in the workplace to people who break boundaries to toxic relationships.  Let’s face it:  In life, we come across all kinds!  As humans, we often focus on those who are negative or toxic leaving it difficult to appreciate those who are positive and healthy.  Seeking out individuals with healthy, positive traits, however, may naturally help us to stay clear (or at least clearer) of those who are toxic, who zap our energy or who make us feel badly.  Further, the more we can surround ourselves with those who are positive and healthy, the more we may model those positive behaviors.

If you really think about it, once in awhile you come across a person who knocks you off your socks…legitimately.  Maybe they have the best outlook on life, maybe they are really wealthy but you would never know it, maybe they make you feel special.  There is a good chance that many of these people possess a few, if not all of the traits mentioned below.  (Although I could probably list a dozen characteristics, I thought I’d list those that seem to be the rarest or most difficult to find in others.)

  1. Selflessness: In a world where many people don’t have the time or the interest in others, selflessness is a quality that seems to be less and less common.  People can be selfless in the time they give, the ability to listen, their level of patience and the love that they give.  Those who are giving and generous in nature have the power to make others feel loved, appreciated and special.  While those who are self-absorbed tend to do the exact opposite.
  2. Tolerance: Those people who are tolerant make us feel comfortable with who we are and special as individuals.  All of us are different, and many of us have quirks and idiosyncrasies.  After all, these differences make the world go round.  Having the ability to accept people for who they are and not expect them to be who we want them to be is important in life, happiness and in the health of our relationships.
  3. Genuineness: Having the ability to be real, authentic and honest is unique in a world where we put so much emphasis on the superficial.  Feeling comfortable in one’s skin and being true to one’s self is one of the most beautiful traits one can possess.  To have a REAL relationship with someone requires honesty…it requires hearing and giving input or feedback that may not always be popular…it means having the strength to tell it like it is and to not be afraid to face the consequences for doing so…it means loving people for who they really are…deep down…and not for what they appear to be.
  4. Sensitivity: So often we are focused on what is important to ourselves that we can forget about those around us.  Those who are sensitive are often thoughtful, appreciative and loving, in a way that makes you feel understood, valued and respected.  Often, sensitive people are also self-aware, making them mindful of how they impact others with what they do and say.
  5. Integrity: Call me cynical, but I think this characteristic is especially difficult to find.  In a time when people will do things that are underhanded to make an extra buck (Bernie Madoff…can you hear me?), expose their personal lives to the public so they can be famous (balloon boy’s dad and any other reality TV mongers) and do what feels good in the moment without necessarily thinking of the consequences (Tiger Woods), integrity is a characteristic that is especially unique today.
  6. Humility: Whether someone is super-smart, extremely talented or drop-dead gorgeous, there is something extra special about them if they don’t come across as though they know it all the time.  Humility in those that possess extraordinary traits make others feel special too.

Oh boy the list could go on!  What characteristics do you admire in others?  Are there any that you want to cultivate?

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  • Pam Bailey

    Nice post…beautiful responses…this made my day!

  • http://twin464@yahoo.com carylon k mcneal

    I COME FROM A VERY TOXIC FAMILY. COUNTING ME , THERE R 5 GIRLS. WHEN I WAS 24 THEY FOUND A CANCEROUS BRAIN TUMOR. IT WAS REMOVED, DID THE TREATMENTS AND WENT BACK TO WORK. STILL CAN’T FIGURE WHY…BUT 3 OF MY SISTERS DECIDED TO TURN ON ME. DON’T TALK TO HER, SHE DOESN’T HAVE A FULL BRAIN..OR WHY CAN’T U JUMP HOP OVER TO FILL IN THE HOLE THEY TOOK OUT….HOW UGLY, COLD HEARTED, SELF-CENTERED, EGOSTATIC CAN THEY BE!!!!!

    I KNOW THAT WHEN I HEAR THEN SAY THIS STUFF AND STAND THERE AND JUST LOOK AT THEN…THEY HAVE NO IDEA…THEY HAVE NOT WALKED IN MY SHOES W/ THE TUMOR.

    I ALSO ATTRACT THE DRUG USERS, THE ONE WHO LIKE TO PARTY 24/7. I DISTANCE MYSELF FROM EM AND THEN THE NEXT THING I KNOW THERE BACK…TELL ME “JUST” WHAT I WANT TO HEAR…AND THEN THERE GONE. I KNOW THE SOLUTION TO THIS PROBLEM…JUST DON;T LET THEM COME BACK INTO MY LIFE…

    ANYWAYS….TRUSTWORTHY…IS THE BIGGEST ON THE 6 TRAITS THAT WOULD BE GOOD!!!!

    • John

      turn off the cap lock!

  • Amy

    On Mike & Laurie’s comments – reminds me of this great line in Steinbeck’s Cannery Row: “The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, opennness, honesty, understanding and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second.”

  • Lindsay

    @Confused:
    i feel like what you wrote could have been written by me. im a junior in high school, and i do try to exhibit these traits in my daily life. and yes, i am one of the social outcasts at my school. these traits havent made me any more popular– if anything, theyve made me less.

    but dont worry about it. younger people are, for the most part, looking for the “coolness”, which often is actually “full-of-yourself-ness” or “big-ego-ness”. in time, people do come to see the good in those who exhibit the 6 traits, but it might take a while. dont get discouraged!

    im sure youre not a “boring piece of shit”– really, no one is if you actually get to know them. as for a “social issue”, its called maturity. younger people dont like those their age who are more mature. im not sure why. but, again, give it time. most people do grow out of such things. 5 years from now youll probably have a great group of friends who do appreciate these 6 traits in you. just be patient. :)

    • Rain

      Loved your Response !! :)

  • http://none beth

    Recently, the reality of keeping company with people who DON’T have these characteristics has come to a climax for me. I, too, have been told that I have these characteristics, and unfortunately, I fell hard for someone based on their SAYING they had these as well, but in the end was as far off from them as can be.

    I feel that although we bare our souls and are humble, some people seek us out for this reason and take advantage. One more reminder to be mindful of what someone DOES rather than what they SAY they do. I’ll never bow down to cynicism, despite the fact that this happened. Just not worth it, and there are wayyy too many people out there who deserve to be in the company of nice people. It’s just easy to take for granted your good nature, and I had no idea that could ever be hijacked, and realize now that we have to be protective of ourselves as well. Best to all of you!

  • @Confused

    Don’t worry, Confused. I’m in the same boat.
    But you must remember most teenagers do not have those traits. It’s apart of the whole TEEN thing.

  • Pi

    Nice article Brett! I agree with you on all counts, though I have to say I feel bad for people who feel badly!
    ;)

  • http://sheerbalance.com James

    Ghandi: #1. One who generously gives money to hookers and drug addicts because of sympathy will have the hookers paying off their pimp and the drug addicts buy more drugs and fuel the flames of crime and choas.

    Einstein: #2. To be tolerant of a bully or an individual who is racist to your own kind would be submitting to their authority, to be tolerant of your government at all times is a dictatorship government…Grow some balls to those who are tolerant and fight for what you believe in, it’s what our founding fathers wanted us to do; for the people to have the power the fight and change what we don’t like.

    Abraham Lincoln: #6. To self-humiliate diliberately would be taking away all self-respect and dignity. Sacraficing yourself to satisfy one cruel sense of humor is NOT worth it for NO man.

  • Mary

    I learned that the quality of one’s life is determined by the choice of company one keeps. While I have most of the traits mentioned in this article, it’s equally important to set good boundaries and not let others take advantage (work, family and friendship situations), and be selective regarding people.

    Another important trait to have is a sense of humor. Life can be a challenge, sometimes for extended periods. It helps tremendously to maintain a sense of humor and be able to laugh at the absurdities of life and people’s ways, including our own foolishness! I love being around people who can really let themselves laugh — it’s wonderfully contagious.

    Thank you for your articles. I stumbled upon them today. The one on Healthy Relationships, especially, is a good reminder of what to look for and to have.

  • Laurie

    I agree with this article. I also agree with Mike. I myself have been told that I have these qualities and for some reason have seen myself and others finish last. I would not change my personality but wish somehow the outcomes were different. All things considered I am very blessed.

  • Confused

    Seems like most of these traits have ostracized me from my young peers for whatever reason. I guess I’m too passive, too quiet, too humble, I go unnoticed often and no one is interested in talking to me. Maybe I’m just a boring piece of shit or I have some kind of social issue that I’m unaware of, I don’t know.

  • dany

    Its a really good article, the world would be a better place if we had does cualities. The problem is when everybody is focus on watching out for number one(them selves), and where the world is in adoration of money “integrity” will never be in all of us. funny thing, people are comenting more on the “8 Toxic Personalities to Avoid” why is that, that’s because thats how the world is… a bad place… people should be reading the positif side of this article, and yet what’s happenning, people are reading more the negatif side of the article, why is that, its because people relate more to the bad things hapenning on this earth. Few are experiencing the companie of good people.

    the change starts within us, its easier said then done, but thats the reality, THE CHANGE STARTS FIRST WITH US.

  • http://yahoo Mike

    I agree completely, but not to be conceited or cynical, I have been told I possess these traits. I, or anyone I know to possess these traits, always seem to get the short end of the stick. Many people say they like these characteristics but those who they associate with (friends, partners) always seem to be the complete opposite. I feel the reason that these 6 characteristics seem to be in short demand is because everyone wants the “popular” guy/gal around and have been slowly phasing out the chivalrous, lady-like and the nice guys/gals. Still, I agree that having people with these personality traits makes life more enjoyable and when we do happen to come across someone with these traits, it seems so much better.

  • http://www.sheerbalance.com arlene

    Thanks for featuring this article! This will surely help me to become a better person now that i am in na difficult situation. Article like this somehow boost my self esteem, you know some people sometimes closest to your heart they are the one who knocks us down. I don’t want to be pessimistic, i’m trying to focus my attention on the good things God has given me and what I can do with them for the common good.

  • Kristine

    Thanks for this article, I appreciate the reminder to work on my own self improvement :-)

    It is so true that we often focus on the negative … and what’s wrong with other people … instead of turning around and assessing what we can do ourselves to be happier!