The Golden Rule has always stuck with me. It is one of the very first things I learned “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This is the rule I’ve come to live my life by. In recent research I came across a list that compiled a number of different variations of the Golden Rule spanning cultures, time, and geography. From Confucianism to Ancient Egypt to Classic Paganism to Christianity, all these teachings contain the message of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.
While we teach our children this classic tenet, we seem to forget to apply it as we get older. By the time we leave elementary school we’ve already learned that this isn’t the case in the real world. In the real world we judge each other, we compete with each other, and we ridicule each other. We answer like with like. If someone directs their anger at you, it tends to be answered with your own anger. In today’s culture if someone is a jerk, it gives you permission to be a jerk to them.
This method isn’t working. Answering like with like does not create something new. While you may rationalize the behavior, “If I was being a jerk I would want someone to call me out”, or “If I acted like that I’d deserve what I got”, this doesn’t change the fact that you are creating energy based upon someone else. You are doing something that you really do not want to come back to you. If you snap at someone you may want them to snap back so you can get in a fight, but deep down, you wish someone would come and provide support and understanding, not raise your ire further.
How do you want to be treated? This is a question we should ask ourselves before responding to a situation. If you were being cruel, and someone answered that with their own cruelty would this change the way you felt? Most likely no. It would only add to your belief that the world is full of jerks and the only way to get ahead is to join them. This is where we tend to use the age old saying, “if you can’t beat them, join them”.
I’m pretty sure that the Golden Rule is wisdom that comes from a more ancient source. It’s an understanding that your energy creates your experience. When I first stumbled upon this concept as an adult I was skeptical, but I was open to the idea. I started changing my behaviors, my attitudes, and my habits. When I was younger I could be combative. Chances are if you mixed up my order I would ask you to fix it and I would use my “stern” voice. Often this was met with resistance, although my wish was normally fulfilled, you can tell when people think you’re a jerk.
As I started shifting my energy, as I became kinder and more understanding, I started to see more of this energy in my life. People offering to assist me, people offering me a special bonus, people who instead of yelling at me would be thankful for whatever assistance I would provide. It even got to the point where people would be upset, but during our conversation they’d begin to transform and say, “I know this isn’t your fault, you’re just the person I have to talk to” and often the interaction would end with them expressing gratitude for me.
I began to watch others and their energy. I began to treat each person as I myself would wish to be treated. That isn’t to say I don’t fall back into certain defensive behaviors, because I do, but I also recognize how far I have come. I continue to grow. I continue to strive to do better.
Now, I very much survive off the goodwill and love of others as I heal and build a new life for myself. Every day I am shown how the love and gratitude you share are returned to you tenfold. Every day I say all the things I wish someone would say to me. I shout it out to the world so I can hear it shout back at me.
And it does.
There is something to this Golden Rule. When something has been carried forward for thousands of years you have to ask why. There is power in something so old. There is a great power waiting for you to claim it.
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