There is a lot of talk and speculation about how we are to treat others. Actually we seem to be encouraged to treat others better than ourselves. There are even those that use the way they treat others as the reason they feel good about themselves. I think many of the issues we have in our relationships and friendships stem from a misunderstanding of this ‘Golden Rule’. And I hope this blog will assist us all in getting a better understanding and purer usage of the Rule.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This is surely one of the most touted saying of our day. On its face, it’s both a warning and an encouragement. How you treat others is how you can expect to be treated yourself. So we set out to try to do right by everyone so that others will do right by us. But then others don’t do right by us and we feel a little let down, perhaps even discouraged. But we soothe ourselves by saying that they will get theirs. What goes around comes around. Vengeance belongs to God and he’s gonna get ’em! And if it only happened once or twice, these words might genuinely make us feel better. But we feel that people do us wrong often, and we start wondering what we did to deserve it and we feel dejected, let down and even depressed. I mean, if I put so much energy into trying to do right by others, why am I not getting it back?!?!?!
But then what about when someone is hurt by something you did or said and you didn’t mean to offend or hurt them. You did what you thought was best or said something you thought would be acceptable and they got in their feelings. While some of us try to shirk it off, there is this ghost we feel is haunting us. This karma waiting to pay us back. Like the saying goes, you can’t please all of the people, all of the time. So the times you aren’t able to please others, are you storing up opportunities for God to smack you around a bit? I mean because if you hurt someone – rule says you will be treated similarly down the line.
Then there are those times that we sacrifice what we want for the sake of others. This hardly ever feels good, even when we make the best of it. Deep down, we a bit disrespected. Putting someone else needs before our own only gives a fleeting sense of accomplishment. And those of us who do it start noticing that the same folks we went out of our way for don’t do the same for us. Or we notice that they are not grateful. And that leaves us feeling hurt and bitter.
So we live our lives trying to apply this rule and vacillate between feeling unfairly mistreated by others, wondering when God will smite us for our sins against others and feeling uneasy because we do things we don’t want to, to please others. And, to me, none of these options seem all that pleasant.
So what are we supposed to do?
Well, first of all, we didn’t come into life experience wanting to please other people. You might want to sit with that for a few minutes. You were not born to make anyone else’s life better. Your desire in coming into this physical world (and yes you did choose it) was to experience the joy and creating a life for yourself. But then you got here and your parents forced you to share and suddenly it was no longer about creating your own life, you had to be concerned with offending other people.
But wait – isn’t that selfish? Isn’t it selfish to want to only be concerned with my life and make myself happy and creating a joyous experience for me? What about everyone else? What about my friends, my family? Wouldn’t I be disrespectful or unloving if I only considered my happiness and joy in deciding how I will live? How would that be living the Golden Rule?
What I am saying is – focus on YOUR HIGHEST GOOD. If your intent is to follow your bliss, joy, goals as your priority, those around you can’t help but be affected by the goodness you are experiencing. If you are happy, those around you are affected by the overflowing of your happiness. If you are blessed, you share blessings as a natural byproduct. When you are primarily concerned with being true to your hearts desire for your life, and creating a life that brings your joy, you can’t help but show others that they can do the same thing and that’s the greatest blessing and lesson you can share with anyone.
The Golden Rule is more about the intent behind the action. If my intent is to cause you pain, I am attracting pain into my own life – even if what I do isn’t perceived by you as painful. If my intent is love – first for myself – and I do something you perceive as painful, I am still attracting love into my experience. Your perception of my decision or action is a product of YOUR life experiences and belief. It’s not what I did; it’s what you THINK about what I did. And that’s beyond my control. My intent will attract the essence of itself into my life.
If you say no to a request because, deep down, you don’t feel good about it, you are standing in your power, honoring your purpose and respecting your boundaries. And while that may upset the person you are saying no to, you will experience the joy that comes from feeling in control of your own life and destiny. If you say yes when you really don’t want to, you will feel bad about the decision and might even feel a bit of resentment towards the person you said yes too and feel out of control of your experience – even if they are appreciative of your efforts. And many times when you feel you should say no, you are doing others a greater service than you may know.
While it’s absolutely great to do good things with and for others, self-love comes from knowing that you made yourself a priority and are doing things that are of service to you and in line with your goals and dreams.
Even if you decide that in order to follow your path/passion/purpose in life you will have to remove some people from your life, you aren’t storing up ‘bad karma’ for yourself, you are opening yourself up to the vast resources of the universe to bring the people and situations into your life that you need to accomplish your goals. This includes family. As hard as it may be to do, it may be necessary to disconnect from our families while we pursue our dreams. Some of our family members are not in alignment with the direction we want our lives to go in our lives, and while they may not mean harm, their energy might become an obstacle for you as you move forward in your life. And in being willing to let life flow as it does, you open yourself to other mentors, role-models and spiritual family members who can support and encourage you into the next phase of your life.
So I think the Golden Rule should be stated, “Treat yourself the way you want others to treat themselves.” Then perhaps as we start treating ourselves with appreciation, honor and respect we will truly understand what it means to treat others the same way – Honoring their path and purpose, respecting their decisions and appreciating who they are becoming.