I remember learning about The Golden Rule as a child. I heard it referred to many times growing up. I learned about it in Sunday School, school, and from various adults in my life.
As an adult I never hear it referred to. I always thought of The Golden Rule as being a simple concept. Something to remind us to be kind to others. So the question is, is The Golden Rule dead?
Are we kind? Do we even consider another’s feelings anymore? Are we so self-involved that we have forgotten that others matter too? I’m sure people appreciate kindness, compassion, and empathy. I’ve never heard anyone say “Stop! you’re being too nice to me.”
I don’t know about you but lately I have been coming across people in my life who feel it’s OK to treat other people like crap. They think it’s OK to call names, belittle, put down, roll their eyes at others, yet they expect to be treated so much better. And if anyone were to treat them that way they get mad. It is just really confusing for me to understand how people can act this way.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not perfect in this regard. I have had my share of moments that I have had to apologize for. And I think that’s perfectly normal. I guess what I’m referring to is the person who sees their actions as being perfectly acceptable. Who think they can treat someone else however they want and not feel it’s necessary to apologize for it because they’ve done nothing wrong in their own eyes. Yet this person demands everyone treat him so much better.
They consider it:
- no big deal,
- or that you are overreacting,
- or you are being overly dramatic
Could it be because this person has never been hurt enough by another’s words or actions to understand how bad it feels to be on the receiving end? Therefore, they have no empathy or compassion for those they have treated this way?
Possibly. This is the only conclusion I can come to that makes sense to me. A psychologist could probably list quite a few more reasons for this type of behavior.
I know from experience how much it hurts to be put down, laughed at, made fun of, called names, constantly criticized, yelled at, etc.. especially by those that say they love me. (This is not love by the way.) The last thing I want is to make someone else feel that way.
So how do you deal with this type of person? How do you deal with someone who doesn’t care how their actions or words affect you or others?
Quite simply you don’t.
- You delete these people from your life.
- You can’t change them.
- You can’t convince them.
If you react to the things they do or say it only justifies their behavior. In their eyes you are now the cause of the problem. You’re the one that’s angry. You’re the one that’s upset. You are now the one that’s the cause of the conflict
The most important thing to always remember: How they treat you is not a reflection of who you are but of who they are.
This brings us back to you. Now is a good time to reflect on your own behavior. A time to make sure that you are the type of person that doesn’t do this to others. You have the choice to be or become whoever you choose to be.
The Golden Rule
Do unto others as you would have others do unto you
Some form of The Golden rule is found in most religions and cultures throughout history. It dates back to at least the Confucian times (551–479 BC)
143 leaders encompassing the world’s major faiths endorsed the Golden Rule as part of the 1993 “Declaration Toward a Global Ethic”, including the Baha’i Faith, Brahmanism, Brahma Kumaris, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Indigenous, Interfaith, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Native American, Neo-Pagan, Sikhism, Taoism, Theosophist, Unitarian Universalist and Zoroastrian. – Wikipedia
The golden rule is an active rule. It is a rule where you must do something. You must perform an action.
Questions for Thought:
- How do I treat others?
- Do I treat others how I would like to be treated?
- Or do I have a double standard?
- Am I a hypocrite?
- If someone treated me how I treat others, how would I feel?
- How would I react to that treatment?
There are two more rules I would like to talk about that most people aren’t even aware of. The Silver Rule and The Platinum Rule. There has been quite a lot of debate as to which rule is the best.
The Silver Rule
What you do not wish done to you, do not do to others
This rule was taught throughout history by various thought leaders such as: Confucius, Isocrates and Epictetus, and Jewish rabbi Hillel to name a few.
The Silver rule is a passive rule. There is no action needed. Inaction is needed.
You don’t have to actively do anything. You only must avoid doing anything you would not want others do to you.
Examples: lying, cheating, and stealing
If you don’t want people to do these things to you, don’t do them to others.
Questions for Thought:
- What do I not want others to do to me?
- Do I do those things to others?
The Platinum Rule
Do unto others as they would like done to them
The platinum rule is also an active rule. You must get to know someone well enough to know what they do want and be willing to give them that. An action is required.
Questions for Thought:
- Do I even know how others want to be treated?
- Do I care?
- Do I put in the time and effort to get to know someone?
Is The Golden Rule dead? Should it be replaced as some suggest it should?
There is much debate as to which of these rules is best. I believe all of these rules are important. Each rule by itself is missing important fundamental concepts on how we should behave. Combined together they form a much clearer picture of how we should strive to treat others.
- Always strive to be kind, helpful, empathetic and compassionate to those around you.
- Do not treat others in any way you would not like to be treated.
- Make the effort to get to know others, so you can learn their preferences on how they wish to be treated and treat them that way.
What do you think? I know I have fallen short on all 3 of these rules in my life. This is a great reminder for me. I think it’s important to always keep these rules in mind when dealing with anyone in our lives. Leave a comment below with your thoughts.
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