It’s hard to argue with the Golden Rule. You do stuff unto others, they do the same stuff unto you. So treat people like you want to be treated. You don’t have to be religious to appreciate this simple wisdom. But what happens when you turn this idea around?
Most people will tell you they treat people well. But if you’ve been around people lately, you know this simply isn’t true. People aren’t good at evaluating the true effects their actions have on others. If you really want to know what you’re doing unto others, take a look at what they’re doing back to you.
Is your romantic partner a chronic cheater? You can feel self-righteous and indignant, or you can view this situation as feedback about your own tendencies. Maybe you’ve never cheated on anyone your entire life, but are you somehow dishonest with yourself? After all, for every chronic cheater, there is someone chronically willing to look the other way. Address your self-deception first, then you’re in a much better place to deal with your partner.
Or take the example of road rage. Do all the “idiots” on the highway drive you crazy, puttering along at 30 mph in the fast lane while texting? If we assume you’re a skillful, attentive driver, how do we explain the stuff the idiots are doing unto you?
Maybe you drink too much, eat too much, work too much. These are not victimless crimes. Do you always consider how eating that extra slice, or working yet another weekend, will impact those that love you? Or are you so busy driving in your lane that you don’t hear the concerned “honks” of your family and friends? Pay more attention to the bigger picture of your own life choices before you revoke the driver’s licenses of inattentive drivers. .
Fix you first. Then see where the world needs fixing.
About the Author: James Robbins is a licensed professional counselor, published author and co-owner of Dallas Whole Life Counseling. He has over 15 years of experience helping people in various life stages that come from a wide variety of cultural, economic and family backgrounds. Learn more about his background by clicking here.