The Golden RulePosted: August 13, 2011 | |
‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ is a basic tenet in our upbringing. It asks you treat others as you want to be treated. Or as I explained to a child once, “How would you feel if it happened to you?” Turns out the Golden Rule has been around a while, since Confucius in 500 B.C. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Golden_Rule That’s a very long time; must be something to it!
In our lifetime, we’ve seen “Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty” spring up in the ’80’s. In 2000, the book Pay It Forward was published, which was turned into the well-known movie and has become a saying unto itself. Random acts of kindness simply suggests being kind to people you don’t know yet; approach the world in a kind and loving manner. Pay it forward has more of a karmic meaning and The Karma Seed was born from it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pay_it_forward In reality, all three: treating people the way you want to be treated, being kind and doing things for others all bring good energy and karma to you. In fact this blog post was born from my participation in @djwaldow’s 28-Day Challenge: good deeds: http://socialbutterflyguy.com/2011/08/03/28-day-challenge-good-deeds/ The challenge started on Monday and I’ve done four or five things a day. DJ is keeping a Google doc where all 100+ participants track their deeds for the day. It’s amazing to read.
What is a good deed? What do The Golden Rule, Random Acts of Kindness & Paying it Forward really look like in action? Many things: letting someone merge into traffic, buying someone coffee, delivering potted flowers, showing up at your wife’s Dr’s appt unannounced, reviewing resumes, paying compliments, sending job postings to job seekers, bringing bagels to work, giving blood or becoming a bone marrow donor, calling your mom or sister, and the list goes on and on. One of my favorites: each day put ten dimes in your right pocket; when you compliment or say something nice to someone remove one and put in left pocket; right pocket should be empty by EOD.
What The Golden Rule really boils down to is compassion and empathy. Compassion for people and empathy for those who may be someplace you’ve never been. Hopefully most of the people reading this will never hear: “You’ve got cancer.” “I’m sorry, your wife/husband/child has died.” “We have to let you go.” Or find out that their spouse has cheated on them for years à la Tiger, Jesse James or Arnold Schwarzenegger. For most peeps, those are just things that are ‘out there in the world but don’t affect me.’ Empathy is understanding even if it doesn’t affect you, it’s happening and people could use support and understanding.
But it actually goes beyond compassion, empathy and doing nice things for people. Ever been in a foul mood and the phone rings? The kindest thing to do is *not* answer the phone rather than answering and spewing negativity on your caller. Have a family member or friend who calls to complain about their lot in life to the point you don’t want to talk to them anymore? Honestly telling them how you feel about it may be the best course of action. We actually have responsibility for the energy we bring to the world; to our family, friends, colleagues, clients, even social media platforms. It’s summed up very nicely by a quote hanging on Oprah Winfrey’s office wall, “Please be responsible for the energy that you bring into this space,” which is depicted above by Free Poster Maker.com. I saw Debbie Lundberg, Life & Business Coach, speak this week on ‘Organization & Time Management’ at a Women in Technology International (WITI) meeting. She said, “Get rid of ‘I have to,’ ‘I should,’ and ‘I don’t have time.’ We all have 24 hours in a day and you choose how you use them.” We actually choose everything we do, say, think, post, tweet, write, share, etc.
So give as much as you can, in whatever way feels right to you. But if you become resentful about giving, then pull back and take care of yourself until you regain balance. Remember: You have to ‘put your oxygen mask on first!’ But after you have and are good, then go Pay It Forward.
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” The Dalai Lama