Monday, May 29, 2006

Survey I: Characteristics of a Good Person

Read the question and post an answer. One word is acceptable. Several words are great. An answer with an extended explanation is also encouraged.

Question: What is a characteristic of a good person?

54 comments:

Seskel said...

Attention/Care

brd said...

In the course of my initial verbal survey on this subject, I received a wide range of answers, which I will be posting as comments.

Honesty, kindness, and love in requisite balance.

brd said...

Integrity and truth telling. Our culture is mired in lying. We need wholeness.

Anonymous said...

A good person strives to do the right thing, wants what is appropriate for all concerned, and lives fully in the moment with unconditional love.

LB

Anonymous said...

Presence--Willingness to be with another person completely and without distraction. Being authentically who you are at the moment, dark side and light.

SS

Anonymous said...

Courtesy.

Julian of Norwich

brd said...

Here is a listing of single word answers that I have received when I posed this question over the past months.

Honesty
Intelligence
Confidence
Generosity
Hospitality
Humor
Flexibility
Authenticity
Patience
Open-minded
Truthful
Kind
Brave
Strong
Friendly
Reliable
Trustworthy
Respectful
Compassionate
Altruistic
Genuine
Effective
Responsible
Self-controlled
Unselfish
Helpful
Open-hearted
Pleasant
Gentle
Humble
Sincere
Sensitive

Erin said...

Selfless. I think goodness in people is only evident when it is deflected onto others.

Prof Fury said...

Well, Erin took mine, but I'll say it anyway: selflessness. But I actually don't like that word, because not having a self seems like a bad thing to me; so I'll say other-directedness. Or--un-selfcenteredness? I dunno. Generosity. Magnanimity.

gbs said...

I'm wishing that engaging-ment was a word. One who is engaged? That is, in one's own life...not fianced.

brd said...

Engaging-ment is certainly one that I don't have on my list yet. I did receive "good personality" once, but I doubt that is what you mean. It's more like firing on all cyclinders, right?

I like magnanimity, just because it is so hard to say. Selflessness does give a mixed message in a sense, though a person who has a strong sense of self and desire and then can set it aside for a higher "good" would be, well pretty "good."

Diane D. said...

sincerity, honesty, and acceptance of others through love are all qualities of a good person.

gbs said...

Right, brd, I don't mean good personality...more like being engaged in something that really matters. This, of course, opens a can of worms about what matters to one person might not matter to another, but I think I'll just leave it at that without getting into too much relativism.

gbs said...

And now I've read your latest post, and that sums up what I mean far better than I can.

brd said...

gbs,

As I wrote my letter to Bob Moses today, your word was so perfect! I love it very much and will use it every chance I get.

Here is another characteristic of a good person that I acquired at a dinner table one evening.

A good person strives to do the right thing, wants what is appropriate for all concerned and lives fully in the moment with unconditional love.

Anonymous said...

purity of heart and the simplicity of putting the needs of others before those of your own

brd said...

Thanks anonymous. I love the word "simplicity" in your comment.

brd said...

My husband says that if I were truly a good person, I would stop asking him questions about the characteristics of a good person.

Marissa and Lillian said...

Unselfish
Honest
Empathy
Tolerant
Hard working
Generous

Group at lunch said...

Thoughtful
Compassionate
To be able to feel and act for the sake of others as well as oneself.

A whole lot of people said...

Here is another listing of words provided by people in my ongoing survey of people at lunch counters and metaphorical bus stops.

Appreciation of good ice cream (beauty and the good things of life)
Self respect (honor, pride)
Introspective honesty
Trust
Being authentically who you are at the moment, the dark side and light (and revealing this)
Love your neighbor as yourself--possible only through Jesus Christ
Feel compassion for others
Acts out of love and not fear
Transformative learning
Respectful
Altruistic
Empathy for others (although this makes that person nervous)
Honest
Compassionate
Acts out of love and not out of fear
Poverty of spirit
Ability to truly hear another person, not just words but meaning

One Woman's Opinion said...

Very few people in the course of my surveying have specifically used the words "Moral Values." One woman though, said, Being good means having good moral values. Not lying, not stealing, etc.

This is, historically, I think, one way that people have defined goodness. Kind of the 10 commandments style thinking. I don't think that you can adequately think about goodness without entering into an internal dialogue with this. I'm not trying to say that this is the summum bonum, but it is important.

Others said...

Makes the world better because they are there.
Compassionate
Can cook well
Good listener
Trust
Actions reflect the goodness of a person
Intelligence
Consistently looking out for the good of others.
Doesn't judge
Willing to help
Love
Someone who puts the other person first.
Good personality

Victor Hugo said...

An interpretation of something from Les Miserables:

Good says, Thy Neighbor.
Evil says, Only Me.

The disconsolate said...

Are there any good people?

I don't think I know anyone who is good.

People aren't good on their own. They only receive reward or reinforcement for good behavior. That is the only grace. Humans do what they are reinforced for.

Our culture is mired in lying.

Becky said...

Good is only Christ's goodness in us. Goodness doesn't make sense without Christ.

While drinking coffee said...

Generosity
Open heartedness
Openness to other people
Kind
Pleasant to be around
Person who loves and acts to others in love

Another wise person said...

Good is something perceived. It is based on comparisons with someone unquestionably good or unquestionably bad. (Mother Teresa or Hitler) We link good or evil to an example person who is clearly that.

Anonymous said...

A continuum is easier to deal with than specifics

Mark Twain said...

There is so much good in the worst of us, an so much bad in the best of us.

Anonymous said...

Do not be overrighteous.
There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins.

The person quoting Ecclesiastes commented that this thinking goes along with the continuum concept.

The Rolling Stone said...

Madonna is probably a good person.

Folks said...

Kindness
Humility
Loving
Kind
Humble

Anonymous said...

Unconditionally present with victims of tragic suffering in a meaningful way.

And someone else said...

Generosity. This is not about dollars and cents but generosity of spirit--not religious spirit, but thinking of others feelings, carring and looking out for other folks, not me, me, me.

Cate said...

A willingness to be uncertain or to allow for uncertainty. To suspend your own perspective or "bracket". To differentiate between good and evil in what you act on.

plr said...

I am writing a recommendation for a teen who is a candidate for National Honor Society. I typed 'characteristics of a good person' and this site popped up.

I read thru the comments and while I am not sure if this candidate is a good cook, I truly believe he is a genuiely good person. He is a great kid. And,thank you for the comments. I've used some in my letter.

brd said...

Plr,

I'm glad that this site gave you some ideas. Goodness is many-faceted. I was reminded of one facet today by Balzac--
"Kindness is the secret striving of a generous nature." Thanks for your comment.

BRD

Anonymous said...

Dear BrD,
"My husband says that if I were truly a good person, I would stop asking him questions about the characteristics of a good person."

5:53 AM "


In response to your husband, I always thought that i am a good person but recently i came across...that my husband is telling me to be "A GOOD PERSON". Thus, What should i be thinking about my husband?

brd said...

Dear Anonymous,

I suppose our husbands are on to us. Like Mark Twain said, (see above) there is much good in the worst of us and much bad in the best of us. Maybe to extend that we could say that when we are at our best, we can still be pretty bad and when we are at our worst, even then, there is hope for the good to explode forth.

The Dalai Lama says: "It is very important to generate a good attitude, a good heart, as much as possible. From this, happiness in both the short term and the long term for both yourself and others will come."

Our dear husbands are the ones who live closest to us and see most intimately both our successes and failures in generating that good attitude, that good heart.

I wish you great success.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the discussion, all. I needed some seed words for a best bride speech and all of your input was greatly appreciated!

brd said...

I'm glad these comments that came from many folks in many places are applicable for your "bride speech". Congratulations on your very good event.

rabies said...

did the "folks Said" guy say humility

yeah not what i looking for i asked this question
the answers i want are the ones like"brd" posted
thanks to anyone who posted like "brd"

Anonymous said...

Talkative, Sociable, easy going, humorous, kind

brd said...

Thanks anonymous for your most recent comment. Your ideas do point to a certain side of "goodness" that I think we all appreciate.

Anonymous said...

I ran across your blog as I am trying to define "Who I want to Be". Consider my thoughts (Rough draft).

Who I Want to Be

Who I Want to Be is defined by terms that define me and not describe what I look like, how I act, or what I possess. Who I Want to Be defines the Ideals I want follow.

My Ideals
Internally Focused Values that Guide Me
- Trustworthiness
- Honesty
- Integrity – Completeness in this list of ideals
- Ethical – A set of accepted standards for moral conduct
- Faithful/Authentic – Being true to myself and my ideals at all times
- Dependable/Reliable

Externally Focused Values that Deal with Others
- Respectful
- Caring
- Kind
- Compassionate
- Sincere
- Generous
- Broad-minded – Inclined to respect views and beliefs that differ from my own

How I Want to Feel
- A Sense of Well-Being
- Happy
- Passion
- Blissful
- Enthusiastic
- Joyful
- Friendly
- Loving
- Expectant
- Abundant – Appreciative of all the wonders I have
- Connected – Contact with my Spirit or God-force
- Faithful – Belief in spiritual expectations

brd said...

I really appreciate the last comment. The lists it has developed include many of the characteristics that others have mentioned, but break it down in a very helpful way. It reminds me of the book by Henri Nouwen entitled Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life.. In it he looks at a person's internal movement, "from loneliness to solitude", a person's external human movement "from hostility to hospitality", and a person's movement toward God, "from illusion to prayer." I wish you well as you continue to explore your definition of self. You are thinking about important things.

brd said...

A group of students participating in the University of Tennessee Life of the Mind program add these.

Trust
Honesty
Selflessness
Perseverance
Humble
Charity
Sympathetic
Respectful
True to Self
Dedication
Awareness of Oneself and Others
Ability to Understand
Empathetic
Passionate

sample said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lauren said...

motivated, ambitious, confidence

M said...

i do agree with sample, every thing comes down to love, and love only

brd said...

Yes, love encompasses much and, perhaps, it is all. But good seems slightly different. Which comes first? Is love the chicken and good, its egg? Perhaps.

Anonymous said...

Accepting
Altruistic
Ambitious
Appreciative
Authentic
Aware
Blissful
Brave
Broad minded
Caring
Charasmatic
Charitable
Cheerful
Clean
Compassionate
Confident
Connected
Considerate
Cooperative
Courageous
Courteous
Creative
Curious
Dedicated
Dependable
Does the right thing
Driven
Easy going
Effective
Empathetic
Engaged
Enthusiastic
Ethical
Fair
Flexible
Forgiving
Friendly
Funny
Generous
Gentle
Genuine
Giving
Good
Happy
Hard working
Healthy
Helpful
Honest
Hospitable
Humble
Humorous
Hygenic
Imaginative
Inspired
Integrity is valued
Intelligent
Joyful
Kind
Light hearted
Listens well
Lives in the moment
Loving
Loyal
Magnanimous
Mature
Mentally awake
Moral
Motivated
Open
Open to change
Open-hearted
Open-minded
Optomistic
Passionate
Patient
Persevering
Pleasant
Positive attitude
Present
Reliable
Respectful
Responsible
Sanitary
Self respect
Self-confident
Self-controlled
Selfless
Sense of humor
Sense of well-being
Sensitive
Shares
Sincere
Smart
Sociable
Strong
Sympathetic
Tactful
Thoughtful
Thrifty
Tolerant
Trustworthy
Truthful
Unconditional
Unselfish
Wise
Wholesome

brd said...

Thanks Anonymous, for the alphabet of goodness.