New Research Reveals the Personality Traits of Everyday Saints

Judging by what’s reported in the news and other media, it might be tempting to conclude that humans are inherently selfish and uncaring. And a large body of research has delved into this exact topic, determining what traits create the dark side of human nature. But a group of American researchers recently decided to look more closely at the positive personality traits we all possess that promote happiness, enrich relationships and make our world a better place.

What they discovered is that we all have the potential to be what the researchers termed “everyday saints.” While everyone is unique and may lean more towards the light or the dark side of human nature, we can all cultivate specific traits to tip the scales more towards the light.

WHAT MAKES UP THE DARK SIDE?

Science has identified three specific traits that are known as the Dark Triad. These traits are all based on having a very self-centered world view. Cynics may suggest being self-centered is basic human nature, but research has shown that living with this world view may be unnatural and has a very negative impact on your life.

Those who are strongly identified with the Dark Triad are proven to be more prone to aggression and violence, less able to empathize with others, use deceit and coercive behavior to get their way, and tend to seek achievement, power and short-term sexual gratification. These behaviors often isolate them from other people, increasing their risk for depression and other mental health disorders.

The Dark Triad consists of the following three traits.

1. Narcissism

Those who are narcissistic have an inflated sense of their own importance. They often have a deep need for attention and admiration, but they don’t reciprocate this to others. They tend to monopolize conversations, and will subtly steer the conversation back to being all about them if you try to interrupt. They also typically believe they’re entitled to the best of everything because they’re so special.

2. Machiavellianism

This is a personality trait characterized by a disregard for conventional morality. Those with Machiavellian motives tend to have no problem manipulating and deceiving others to get what they want. They can appear charming, but it’s typically just a ploy to achieve their goals at any cost.

3. Psychopathy

What distinguishes a psychopath is a lack of conscience, remorse and empathy. They appear to have few inhibitions and lack impulse control, so those with psychopathic tendencies are more prone to criminal activities, risky sexual behavior and seeking destructive forms of excitement.

Happy woman

FINDING YOUR LIGHT SIDE

So, what sorts of traits should you cultivate to avoid falling into the Dark Triad? The recent American study that looked into this question found three important positive traits of human nature that lead to beneficence, rather than malevolence. They called these the Light Triad, which includes personality traits that tend to focus on the goodness of humanity and benefitting the world.

And, perhaps not surprisingly, those who exhibit strong traits from the Light Triad also have significantly better health and personal outcomes than their more sinister counterparts. They tend to have greater life satisfaction, personal growth, positive romantic relationships, and sense of meaning and purpose in life.

The following three traits make-up the Light Triad.

1. Kantianism

The term Kantianism refers to the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, a German philosopher born in 1724. He stressed the importance of only acting in ways that are sustainable and beneficial to the world. This included never treating yourself or others as a means to an end. Instead, respect that all people have intrinsic value simply by being alive, and we should all use reason to work towards making a better future for everyone.

2. Humanism

Those with a humanistic world view value the dignity and worth of each individual. They feel that every person has the right and the ability to create their own future and dreams. And as the species that arguably has the most influence and knowledge on this planet, we should always look after the welfare of other sentient beings and the earth as a whole.

3. Faith in Humanity

This simply refers to believing in the fundamental goodness of humans. That when left to our own devices, humans will act out of compassion and do the right thing. And that we will do this because it’s right, not because we want to achieve something from it.

The study didn’t investigate how to cultivate these positive traits in your life, but becoming more aware of them is an important starting point. If you ever find your thoughts narrowing to how you can personally gain from a situation, or you find yourself doubting the value of humanity, try to take a step back and ask yourself if your thoughts and actions are coming from the Light or the Dark Triad.

If you feel they’re coming from a self-centered, dark place, consider how you can turn them around. It might be as simple as phoning a friend to get out of a mental rut and find a fresh perspective. Or meet up with a family member who’s going through a tough time and ask how you can help. You can also try volunteering, joining a club or getting to know your neighbors better.

Taking small steps towards creating a better future for the world, finding the value in all people, and reaffirming your faith in humanity can go a long way. And research has now proven that it can turn all of us into everyday saints.

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101 comments

Diane E
Diane Eyesterday

There are many quietly good people. Celebrate them. Thank them. Respect all people and animals.

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Mike R
Mike R3 days ago

Thanks

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Dr. Jan Hill
Dr. Jan H3 days ago

thanks

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beba h
beba h4 days ago

It is sad that the everyday saints or light beings are the main targets of narcissists and psychopaths who seek out to destroy them on every level. It is so important to educate yourself, if you are a light being or empath on these predators because they are relentless in hunting down good people.

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Hannah A
Hannah A6 days ago

Ty

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Tanya W
Tanya W7 days ago

Thank you

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Tanya W
Tanya W7 days ago

Noted

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danii p
danii p8 days ago

Thank you

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danii p
danii p8 days ago

Thank you

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Martin H
Martin H9 days ago

Very important. TY.

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