Do Unto Others (or don't)
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, the Golden Rule.
Also known as, treat others as you would treat yourself.
We traditionally think of this as an action, as "be nice to people."
While it could certainly be interpreted that way, being nice to everyone is:
- Not always going to be the decision with the best outcome.
I don't think that "being nice" to people as a go-to is going to yield the best results. Sometimes "being nice" to people is enabling and supporting negative behavior.
I think that in order to get the most positive return in consequence of your "Golden" effort, we have to understand the rule in a much deeper sense than it's conventionally interpreted.
Instead of looking at it as "being nice," I think it's better to look at it in the sense that we should, quite literally, treat others as we treat ourselves.
First and foremost, we must treat ourselves well if we want the best results.
Dr. Jordan Peterson remarks in his book The 12 Rules for Life that this statement should be looked at as an equation, rather than an injunction. He says, "If I am someone’s friend, family member, or lover, then I am morally obliged to bargain as hard on my own behalf as they are on theirs. If I fail to do so, I will end up a slave, and the other person a tyrant. What good is that?”
If we treat ourselves poorly, we will treat others poorly. Consequently, if we treat ourselves well, we will treat others well.
I believe that someone can only give you the same amount of understanding, love, compassion, respect, etc. that they give themselves.
Build an understanding of yourself to understand what is beneficial to your wellbeing and, contrastingly, what is toxic to your progress.
This doesn't mean looking at what makes you happy, it means looking at what is beneficial to your growth in the long term sense.
Once you have a firm grasp on what is beneficial and toxic to you, hold fast to your understanding. Don't allow yourself to compromise or waver on how you deserve to be treated.
Other people may try to make you question yourself, your worth, and your boundaries. I always think back to what Steven Pressfield wrote in The War of Art, "The critic hates most that which he would have done himself if he had had the guts."
There are people who will be intimidated and upset by your steadfastness and growth. This might not be directly because they hate you, more than likely it's because they look up to you and are intimidated by your strength and growth. They'll try to bring you back down so that they don't have to acknowledge, within themselves, that they haven't accomplished as much as you have.
Once you have a firm grasp on what it looks like to treat yourself well, you must be conscious of making decisions that are true to that belief.
This means respecting yourself enough to call tough shots, like cutting toxic people out of your circle of relationships.
If you would tell your friend to cut ties with a friend causing them negativity in their life, why would you not apply the same principle to yourself? This ties back to treating yourself well and understanding that your worth is not to be tainted by allowing toxicity into your life in the form of negative relationships.
Treat others as you would treat yourself: well.