We all learned it.
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
It’s a beautiful thing really. Clean. Clear. Simple.
Treat other people the way that you like to be treated and bingo, the world is a better and safer, a more loving and connected place.
And yet, it doesn’t seem to be working.
So, I’ve been asking around.
“What do you think of the Golden Rule?” Everyone I asked, truly everyone, said they thought it was a good idea, and that they considered it a key piece of their value system.
“Do you practice the Golden Rule?” Again, everyone I asked – every single one – either said “yes” or that they do their best to practice it.
Hmmm…. if we all believe in it, and we’re all practicing it, why the devil isn’t it working?
Reciprocity and expectation.
Somewhere along the line, we’ve muddled the intent of the rule. And even though almost everyone can quote it accurately, we’ve come to interpret the rule to mean treat others the way we want to be treated and they will do likewise. Simply stated, do unto others so they will do unto you, too.
Therein lies the rub.
The Golden Rule is about being your best self without the expectation of reciprocity.
It is about treating both friend and enemy the way you like to be treated. It means showing up as a model of the value, even when it is most difficult.
4 Steps to practice the Golden Rule.
Get Clear – Take out a piece of paper and answer these questions:
• How would I like to be treated by my friends?
• How would I like to be treated by my colleagues?
• How would I like to be treated by my family?
• How would I like to be treated by the people who vehemently disagree with me?
Set an Intention – Each morning this week, before you begin your day, reflect on your answers to the 4 questions, and set an intention to show up that way yourself.
Give Yourself Space – Pause and take a breath before you respond in difficult situations this week. Give yourself a moment to respond the way you choose rather than react by default.
Cut Yourself Some Slack – When you start beating yourself up this week, remember your answers to the 4 questions and treat yourself the way you would like others to treat you.