When you start your meditation journey, you might wonder how you will change throughout it. While meditation can change your personality, does it also translate into making you a better person?
Research suggests that meditation can play a minor role in making you a better person, in the sense that it can amplify your feelings of compassion and empathy. But that’s not the case for everyone, since everyone’s journey varies.
If anything, meditation can amplify more of who you already are, or shape a new identity. But with the increased addition of compassion and empathy playing out as a result of meditation would mean meditation does help you become a better person, but always take that with a grain of salt because nothing is set in stone.
No Guarantees of Becoming a Better Person
With meditation, you can’t have any expectations, but instead, enter the experience allowing the experience to happen to you, and become an observer and resident of the present moment.
By learning to manage your own potentially negative emotions and thoughts as you often do with meditation, you might find yourself tempted to spread that with others through your presence, considering you might experience an increase in compassion.
Now, with meditation, you walk more a path of self-focus and moving towards your best self, which rarely many times has the bonus of making you a better person, considering there is nothing to gain from hurting others, and it becomes easier to understand if you’re to feel empathy towards others, which is something meditation is aimed at achieving.
However, this is just speaking in the broad sense, since there will always be a minority of twisted individuals that use meditation for evil, and no matter how much they meditate, if they aren’t set on becoming a better person, meditation won’t play a significant role in making them better people.
Understanding Others Emotions
Empathy is the ability to understand other’s emotions and often put yourself in their shoes, something that can improve the more you meditate since you detach yourself from your thoughts and are ultimately able to let go of thoughts that don’t serve you.
But this also helps you understand yourself, and if you manage to understand yourself, there’s a good chance you’ll have an easier time understanding others.
Meditation helps you look at the bigger picture, and not attach a label to things, and by letting go of judgment, it won’t get in the way of understanding others’ emotions, but it all starts with you.
If others feel and see that you are understanding their emotions, you are likely to be perceived as a good person and continue to walk that path, as it can be rewarding to do good for others, and it becomes a cycle that feeds on itself and becomes stronger.
So seeing it from that perspective, meditation has the potential to make you a “better person”, by understanding others’ emotions.
But then again, you can’t objectively quantify what a good person is, other than accepting general consensus and doing good things for others, which many would unanimously agree qualifies as a desirable trait to have.
Amplifying Your True Self
During your meditation journey, you can choose to walk many paths, and many will choose a righteous one of personal growth.
But that’s not to say that a minority will use a resentment they’ve built up for nefarious purposes. However, this usually is a self-destructive path that would defeat the purpose of meditation, even if the dark side of meditation is that it can turn out worse for some.
The moment someone seeks destruction or retribution, they are usually out of the present moment and not meditating, and that’s not as simple as knowing between right and wrong, since some have strong reasons to act the way they do.
Can Meditation Make You a Worse Person?
More often than not, meditation results in a positive change, both making an individual reach a higher state of self-awareness and overall being perceived as a better person by others around them as well as by themselves.
But of course, don’t quote me on that since there are no statistically significant results to go after, benefits derived from meditation are more personal and internal than external.
I’m basing myself on my own experience and what I’ve seen, never seen a case of anyone using meditation as a means for destruction, even if there will be very few cases here and there, but certainly isn’t a trend.
However, considering that meditation can often bring out repressed memories and parts of oneself that would be considered negative, in theory, meditation could turn someone into a worse person if the individual in question acts on the negative thoughts they get, but I’ve never seen that happen before and it’s not necessarily a meditation problem.
Meditation plays a role in shaping your identity, from the moment you begin throughout your entire journey, but you are unlikely to go from better to worse.
Meditation Can Help You Become a Good Listener
Meditation trains you indirectly to have more patience, which is often a very desirable trait to have, but in addition, when you meditate you observe your own thoughts and sometimes listen to them.
If you get used to doing that with your own mind, you are likely to replicate that and actually listen and observe what the other person is telling you. Some consider an individual that’s a good listener as a good person, but it’s of course very subjective.
Meditation won’t magically make you perceived as a better person to those who already see you in a less favorable light, but fortunately, with meditation, you don’t have to worry about that since you become less reliant on validation and the overall approval of others.
But being a good listener has its benefits since everyone has more or less something we can learn from, be it good or bad that can serve us in our meditation journey.
Many individuals link being a grateful person to being a better person, and there’s a good reason for it. The more grateful you are, the more of an abundance mindset you have, and the less of a need there is for any ill will to coexist with it.
Meditation often makes you more appreciative of the small things, which lowers the threshold for happiness. There are even meditations tailored for gratitude, and if you are grateful, you focus on what you already have instead of what you are lacking.
There are many reasons to be grateful, such as the fact that you’re able to read this article. Being grateful for even the smallest things by noticing your surroundings often comes a long way in being a better person.
After all, it’s what you put your focus on that tends to grow — if you focus on scarcity, that’s what you’ll see whereas if you focus on abundance, that’s what you’re more likely to see. Gratitude is underrated but there’s a strong correlation between gratitude and happiness, which indirectly can lead to becoming a better person.
Meditation can go many different ways, and although there isn’t a strong amount of evidence correlating being a good person with meditation, we can only go off the limited data and our own experiences, but meditation is unlikely to turn you into a worse person. Meditation may not work for you but that’s another issue on its own.
Most meditations work for most people, it’s just a matter of finding the right one for you. However, don’t enter meditation with the fear that you’re gonna end up worse than when you started, meditation isn’t addictive and you can always put a pause on the practice if you don’t feel it’s for you.
From what I’ve seen and experienced, there are little to no downsides to meditation if you are the average individual.