8 Ways to Be a Better Human by Living Like a Vampire
If you were to make a quick list of "what's hot" in today's society, vampires would definitely rank in the top five. Today's vamps are sexier and more glamorous than their predecessors and they always seem to have plenty of money and eternal good looks at their disposal — looks that aren't vulnerable to aging or gravity, giving them obvious appeal to ordinary people with ordinary lives.
Who wouldn't want that?
But look closer, and you'll see that this fascination is based on more than just sex appeal. No, what really has us so smitten is that extra "something" that they all seem to possess, something that us mere mortals just haven't quite figured out.
So, that got me to thinking…what is it that gives them that edge? And more importantly, how can you claim it as your own? Here are eight ways to be a better human by living like a vampire. (See also: 25 Fun and Cheap Entertainment Ideas From "The Vampire Diaries")
1. Be Authentic
Open a self-help book and I'll bet money you find the word "authentic" in there at least once — and for good reason. But what exactly does it mean? How do you know if you're being authentic?
In "Vampire Diaries," Ian Somerhalder plays the vamp bad boy, Damon Salvatore, the difficult and somewhat impulsive brother of the more stable and level-headed Stefan (Paul Wesley). As difficult as he might be, Damon never apologizes for who he is nor does he pretend to be something he's not. "This is me," his actions seem to say. "Love it, leave it…I don't care which."
He's fierce, he's outspoken, and quite often, he steps over the line, but no matter what the circumstances, you can count on Damon staying true to who he is.
And that is what authenticity is all about.
We spend a lot of time trying to be something we're not. Trying to keep up with the Joneses or fit in with a certain crowd when what we really need to do is embrace who we are. Yes, that means accepting the bad with the good and perhaps eating a little crow along the way, but if we can't embrace our truest selves, how can we ever expect to grow?
2. Be Fearless
Okay, I know what you're thinking: It's easy for vampires to be fearless…they're vampires. And your point is well taken — courage isn't nearly as hard to muster when you're stronger than all your opponents.
But being fearless isn't just about standing your ground in the face of danger. It's also about having the courage to try something new. Being brave enough to walk the path less traveled. Having the audacity to be discontent with following the crowd and fitting in. Fearless, in its truest sense, is doing what your gut tells you to do and charging ahead, even when you're not sure how things will turn out.
Now, the cool thing about courage is that the more you test it, the more you discover you possess it. The saying that we "have nothing to fear but fear itself" is very often true. We think we can't do something. We're afraid of what might happen if we try. But when we push past that fear and act as if we're fearless, we also very often discover that we are.
3. Be Indulgent
Vampires are, by their very nature, indulgent. They drink lots of blood, they have tons of sex, and they charm whomever they choose to charm to get whatever it is they want.
But being indulgent doesn't always mean being willful and reckless.
Being indulgent means seizing the moment, living in the now, and telling that judgmental inner voice to take a hike once in a while. We're great at doing what we're supposed to do, but we just don't know how to indulge what we want to do. But it's those wants that represent our deepest desires, and it's those desires that hold the answers to all those big questions about life. Who are we? And why are we here?
Indulge yourself and find out.
4. Be Adaptable
Watch any vampire saga or series and you'll find vamps who are hundreds, even thousands, of years old fitting in with today's society just as well as they did centuries before.
Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard) of "True Blood" went from fighting in the ancient Viking wars to owning a gothy nightclub outside of Shreveport. The group of Originals in "Vampire Diaries" — Klaus (Joseph Morgan), Rebecca (Claire Holt), et al — are written as being older than dirt, yet they blend in with the folks of Mystic Falls as if they were born within the last few decades.
Even the vampire legend itself has survived the test of time, morphing from the creepy demonic spin-off as it was first written to the deliciously wicked variety we enjoy today.
The reason for this survival is that they know how to go with the flow. Today's vamp is trendy, tech-savvy, and much more discreet in their vampy activities. They've not only monitored the evolution of humans, they've strategically matched it. By doing so, their species continues to thrive.
And it's this adaptability that we need to model because, as a species, we're terrible when it comes to change.
Oh, we say we want it, but when it comes right down to it, we'll stick our heads in the sand rather than face it.
We have the tools and resources to create a virtual nirvana — a place where we can all be free to explore and enjoy all the mysteries that life has to offer. But to get there, we have to let go of the past. We have to give up on the "this is the way we've always done it" mindset. We have to be willing to change and learn to go with that Universal flow.
5. Be Determined
In SyFy's "Being Human," Samuel Witwer plays Aidan Waite, a 200+ year-old vampire who's determined to live a life that's as "normal" as possible. He has to drink blood of course, and being another good example of authenticity, he embraces this part of himself fully. But he doesn't allow this single aspect to define who he is.
By definition, vampires are expected to be brutal, cold-blooded killers and throughout the series, Aiden is given many reasons to give into this stereotype and give up on his humanity. But Aiden's commitment is unwavering. He knows what he wants and despite ridiculous odds, he's bound and determined to live as normal — and as human — as he possibly can.
How many of us can say we have that same commitment?
How often do we give up on a dream because the going gets tough — because we don't have the time, or the money, or the know-how? How many times have we given into frustration and that "I can't" mindset instead of forging ahead, come hell or high water?
Knowing what you want is only half the battle, and nobody said that the road to get there would always be easy. But it's the challenges in our lives — and the way we respond to them — that build character and ultimately help us define who we really are.
6. Be Passionate
OK, I said that being indulgent wasn't always about being willful and reckless, but sometimes it is. Sometimes, giving in to our passions and desires is exactly what's needed to create those life-changing experiences that will define our future.
One of the things that makes today's vampires so attractive is their absolute passion about whatever it is they happen to be doing, whether it's fighting their supernatural foes or dancing with abandonment at a house party.
We, on the other hand, tend to live a much more conventional and conservative lifestyle. We'll happily trade passion and desire for security and predictability, because it offers us the safety net we believe we need to have to survive.
But what would life be like if we threw in a little more passion? What would your days look like if you couldn't wait to get out of bed and truly immerse yourself in whatever activities you had going on? The old phrase "carpe diem" is still around because it's still one of the best pieces of advice we can heed — seize the day and live a passionate life.
7. Be Bold
One of the things that enables vampires to be so indulgent is that they also tend to be quite bold. They're daring, brazen and certainly outspoken, a combination that makes them the epitome of the squeaky wheel. And you know what they say about the wheels that squeak loudest.
This boldness in turn also makes them honest, sometimes painfully so. But painful or not, it's one of the traits that makes today's vamps so intoxicating, and it's a trait we'd do well to emulate. I'm not suggesting that we throw civility out the window, forget our manners, or forego basic courtesies, but wouldn't it be great if we all just said what we wanted to say?
Being bold means speaking your mind, standing up for what you believe in, and having the moxie to say what you want. No more beating around the bush and no more head games. Now, just imagine what we could accomplish if we all just spoke the truth?
8. Be Optimistically Adventurous
This last trait encompasses some of the others I've already mentioned, but I think it's important enough to warrant its own space.
Vampires are adventurous — and optimistically so — giving them the ability to move through life without second-guessing their decisions. This is partly due to their fearlessness and partly because of their indulgent nature, but it also has to do with their overall perception of the world around them.
Failure is not an option, and even when it occurs to them that a particular plan or strategy might have a few flaws, they're still content to give it a whirl and see what happens. And no matter how gloomy the outlook might be, our toothy counterparts still fully believe they'll come out on top.
This kind of adventurous optimism allows them to trust their gut and take those calculated risks, even when those risks don't look so good on paper.
And that's an important trait to learn. Be sensible. Be rational. But be adventurous, too, and believe in the possibilities. Because sometimes, the best course of action won't be the one that makes sense or follows a traditional set of rules. Sometimes, the best path to walk is the one that sounds crazy in theory, but makes all the sense in the world in your heart.
How are you living like a vampire?