Almost half of all Americans believe they're the best person they know, a new survey suggests.
In a recent study of 2,000 U.S. residents, 81% said they believe that humankind is inherently good, and three in four (75%) believe they're fundamentally a good person.
But when asked how they would compare themselves to others in their life, 46% went a step further, admitting to a belief that they're "better" than everyone else they know.
The survey was conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by Behold Retreats, a wellness company that specializes in the therapeutic use of plant-based medicine to aid in personal and spiritual growth.
Broken down by gender, female respondents were less likely to think of themselves as good (67% vs 86% of men), and more likely to believe that humanity is bad (20% vs 4% of men).
Only 55% of Millennials believe in the goodness of humanity; respondents between the ages of 25 and 39 were also least likely to claim to be a good person (68%) and the most likely to say they "didn't think in terms of 'good' or 'bad'" (12%).
Across the entire panel, 72% admit to judging other people's behavior, while 61% also worry that they're being actively judged by others.
Respondents were most likely to say that a good person should be kind (49%), giving (45%), and friendly (41%) — but when asked to list which qualities theywished to have, respondents wanted to be more successful (38%) over anything else, even happiness (21%).
"People still make the mistake of thinking that success precedes happiness, or that success and happiness come from the outside, but it doesn't." said Behold Retreats founder Jonathan de Potter. "Success and happiness are the natural result of doing the inner work to understand ourselves better, recognize our unique gifts and strengths, and aligning to our true purpose."
Currently, although 62% agree that everyone has the capacity to become a better person, only 43% believe they're doing everything they possibly can to better themselves.
Of the 74% who've engaged in self-improvement methods, 38% said that the methods they tried were initially successful — but only 22% said they were all successful in the long term.
Use of plant-based medicines was found to be one of the most effective measures (59%) among respondents, just behind more traditional methods like enrolling in classes (61%) or going to therapy (60%).
In fact, 82% expressed an interest in trying legalized plant-based psychedelics such as psilocybin (38%) or ayahuasca (34%).
"Research from leading institutions such as Johns Hopkins has proven psychedelics to be safe and effective, but policy has yet to catch up," added de Potter. "As more people travel to legal destinations such as Costa Rica, Mexico, Netherlands, and Peru for a life-changing ayahuasca retreat or psilocybin retreat, it's comforting to know that among this survey's respondents, safety (84%) and expert guidance (67%) are top of mind."
Looking forward, respondents remain optimistic about the future: 68% are confident that their life is going in the right direction, and 61% are similarly confident that humanity is progressing in the same way.
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