The Golden Rule – Do unto others, as you would have them do onto you. It seems simple enough. Treat people the way you want to be treated. It can get complicated though can’t it? What if you don’t think that you deserve to be treated with respect in dignity? Does that then become how you treat others?
I don’t think that truly confident, self-aware people treat others badly on purpose. I think that those of us who treat others unkindly do it because of something lacking in our own lives. So how do we do better?
I think the first step is awareness. A lot of the times, the things that bother us about other people are the things that remind us of ourselves, and not in a good way. If we pay attention to those things and realize that these things are a reflection of ourselves, then we can do better.
Maya Angelou is quoted as saying that “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” It’s a lot harder than it sounds though, isn’t it? The behaviors that trouble us the most are habits that have developed over time and it takes time, work and commitment to not continue those bad habits. Doing better doesn’t happen overnight.
Consider the people you admire. Preferably people you know personally, but even those people you don’t. What are the qualities of the people you admire? The people, that when they do something, you think that you’d love to do something similar. Is it their kindness, their generosity, or maybe it’s simply their ability to make you laugh. Whatever those things are, think about how you can do that in your own life.
It’s easy to judge people for the things that we don’t like about them. Maybe they gossip too much or say one thing to your face and say something different behind your back. We’ve all been guilty of doing things we’re not proud of. It’s when we don’t accept and forgive ourselves for these things that we continue to do those things and judge others for doing the same.
Instead of saying treat others the way that we want to be treated, I think we should be more specific. Treat people with kindness, compassion and empathy. It may not be what we think we deserve, but it’s what we need. ♥
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