You’ve heard the famous Golden Rule, “Treat others how you want to be treated.”
Sounds amazing, right?
Check out the best guiding principles of this Golden Rule to help you apply it in your life.
1. Listen to Others the Way You Like Being Heard
When you talk, you like being heard, right? You love it when someone listens intently to you without interrupting or making it about themselves in any way.
This is universal for all humans. We have an inherent nature to desire to be heard. It makes us feel valued, leads us to connect, and improves our well-being as researchers have long realized.
Listening to others saves a lot of time and arguments since you’ll be able to make the one talking feel all the above plus you’ll understand their needs best. Wouldn’t you want the same from every listener you talk to?
Here are characteristics of a good listener to help you treat people as you would wish to be treated:
- They shut off their internal monologue: Instead of striving to make conclusions about the speaker while they’re talking, good listeners put their highest focus on the one talking to understand before formulating conclusions.
- They shut off distractions: Whether internal or external, distractions are prone to lower the quality of listening. After all, how can you make someone feel heard while texting? To be a good listener, you need to shut off everything trying to steal your attention away from the speaker.
- They’re sincere: With sincerity to listen to another opinion comes openmindedness to accept it even without taking it as one’s own.
- They’re authentic: Some people can’t just stop talking so if you listen to them for days on end because you don’t want to make them feel unheard, you’ll be stressing yourself over something even the listener can understand. A simple “Can we talk more about this next time,” can help cut short a conversation that’s suffocating priorities.
- They are passionately curious: Especially when a conversation is filled with old information, we tend to assume that we’ve already heard it all. This makes sense why a loved one can talk about an issue over and over again and still not get heard. But good listeners can catch on to any new information since they’re curious about any new thing the speaker might talk about.
This is the positive way of expressing the golden rule treat others the same way you want to be treated.
Furthermore, it applies the platinum rule which is a variation of the golden rule stating, “Do unto others as they would want to be done to them.” By listening to someone else’s needs, you understand how to treat them the way they desire to be treated.
2. Do Not Judge
One universal truth is that no one is perfect. Not even the kindest man or woman in the world.
With this in mind, you can approach the golden rule much more prepared to treat people the way you like to be treated.
When someone steals from you, you might say, “They shouldn’t steal from me since I don’t steal, “ but remember, you do wrong when you’re rude to your neighbor.
Or you might say, “They’re so disgusting, sleeping around as if they have no morals!” But remember, you did cheat on your girlfriend once.
In a nutshell, we’re all imperfect – doing wrong in different ways, in varying magnitudes, and at different times in our lives.
Therefore, if you stopped doing something evil, stop judging the one who’s still stuck in the wrong. Even if you’ve never done a particular wrong, remember you struggle with something different. And no matter how much less you do wrong, remember to be kind to the one who errs a lot more.
This is the negative way of expressing the golden rule – do not treat others the way you don’t want to be treated.
Forgiveness is hard for everyone. But following what the golden rule states, you have to forgive others the way you want to be forgiven.
Imagine if everyone you’ve ever wronged harbored resentment in them. Wouldn’t it be difficult for you? This same way you feel uncomfortable at the thought of everyone resenting and revenging you is the same way another person feels when you refuse to forgive them.
But how can you just accept things and let go?
To forgive even the worst enemy, you must:
- Seek their point of view: No one does anything without a reason. We all have different backgrounds and what may seem extremely wrong in your culture may not be the same for another. Therefore, seeking to understand why a person did what they did helps you come to the next step.
- Accept their perspective: Knowing that the way someone behaved was the best they know helps you accept not their behavior but the reason behind it.
- Forgive them: Now you can let go knowing they didn’t know better.
You can go ahead and explain why you were hurt to your transgressor if need be since it’s another way of treating people the way you desire to be treated.
You can check out Best Ways To Learn Acceptance And Letting Go in case you struggle with forgiveness.
4. Slow Down Anger
Anger is one of the most dangerous emotions when there’s no feelings control. It can lead to breakups, assaults, murders, and many other things which could be escaped. After all, the reflex response to anger is aggression.
But the golden rule is about exercising patience. After all, we’re all imperfect and need to be patient with others the way we want them to be patient with us whenever we get out of hand.
So when feeling angry, the only way to treat people the way you’d like to be treated is to do something that would slow your anger so you can deal with it effectively.
Yet slowing down your anger doesn’t mean suppressing it (this is dangerous since it blows out of proportion when the pent-up anger is too much). It means choosing another constructive thing to do when you’re feeling like destructively expressing your anger.
Instead of lashing out at someone since you wouldn’t desire to be treated that way, it’s best to take a small break to calm down and find better words to express how someone has hurt you.
You can learn more about anger management through this American Psychological Association article.
5. Be Slow to Speak
Words can hurt. And the more we speak, the more we easily blurt out hurtful things.
That’s why one of the guiding principles to treating others the way we want to be treated sheds light on our speech.
Why be slow to speak anyway? Here’s why:
- It helps you think of what you’re going to say – whether it’s beneficial or not
- It helps you wait on your turn to speak which is key to having constructive conversations
- It helps you listen more effectively to practice the platinum rule
- It helps the other person feel heard
- Helps you realize you don’t have something to say sometimes
- Quoting Mark Twain, “It is better not to speak and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.”
When you’re slow to speak, you’d be able to habitually apply the golden rule, treat others the way you want to be treated.
6. Put Yourself in Someone Else’s Shoes
How are they feeling? What happened to them? What does it feel like to be in their position?
These are questions you must ask yourself if you’re looking to treat people the way you want to be treated.
In other words, you need to start practicing empathy.
The snobbish woman you see at the airport might be carrying the burden of cancer news she received last week. The homeless man lying on the bench has a story you don’t know about. The rude CEO who splashed mud on your sneakers with their sports car might be still carrying the insecurities of a sexually assaulted, regularly bullied boy.
As the adage goes “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about” so should you behave – if you want to treat people the way you want to be treated.
7. Be the Person You Needed When You Were Younger
Treating otters how you’d like to be treated isn’t about handling adults alone. It’s also about caring for someone younger than you.
When you were young, you desired someone to push you to reach your potential, inspire you, love you unconditionally, and so forth.
Now that you’re older, it’s easy to forget to be the one you needed when you were younger. You might step over, manipulate, and abuse those younger than you because maybe you experienced the same. But that means you’d be breaking the golden rule.
To succeed in treating those younger than you as you’d like to be treated if you were them, check out why you need to be who you needed when you were younger.
8. Treat the Everyone Equally
Whether it’s the poor, orphans, disabled, or any other people different from you, it’s important to follow the golden rule which follows the principle of equality.
As the United Nations’ article 1 of the declarations of human rights states: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Therefore, no race, disability, or social status is a reason to treat someone the way you wouldn’t want to be treated yourself.
If you fail to exercise equality, you fail to follow the golden rule.
9. Practice Gratitude to Everyone
When you do something nice to someone, it feels good to hear them appreciate you. This goes the same way for others.
Therefore, whether someone took their time to spend with you, thought you were wise enough to confide in, or simply served you a plate of rice, it’s important to say a simple thank you.
After all, you can remember how bad it felt the last time you thought someone wasn’t appreciating you.
10. Walk the Talk of Love
We all desire to be loved. If you wish to be treated with love, you also must treat others like so.
You might say “I love you” a lot but the truth is, actions speak louder than words. No matter how much you tell people you love them, it would mean nothing if you don’t follow up in action.
To follow the golden rule, you must learn how to love others. It’s the greatest virtue anyone can have since it would enable all the other principles of the golden rule. In fact, religion and philosophy see all ethical issues summed up in one word: love.
If you love someone:
- You won’t desire to seek revenge on them
- You would be ready to listen to them
- You’d be ready to sacrifice your comfort for them
- You’d treat them with respect
- You’d be the person they need
- You’d be curious to know how they feel about various issues
But how can you love others? Check out the following video from the School of Life on how to love.
11. Take Responsibility
Accountability is one of the chief guiding principles of the golden rule. After all without it, how can you stay consistent in practicing the golden rule?
Treating people the same way you want to be treated is a matter of owning up to the fact that you’ve failed when you do. This not only makes up for the mistake but also gives you the strength and resolve to try again.
“I’m sorry for not listening to you as I should have. Your struggles do matter.”
“I’m sorry I judged you for doing that, I should have sought to understand instead of concluding evil about you so rashly.”
“I’m sorry for resenting you for so long. Even if you hurt me badly, you deserve forgiveness. I forgive you.”
I can go on and on about taking responsibility around the guiding principles of the golden rule but you get the point.
Treating others the way you want to be treated comes with responsibility.
Famous Questions Around the Golden Rule
To learn more on the golden rule, stick with me through this short Q&A ection.
What is another way of saying treat others the way you want to be treated?
The Golden Rule in other words, if you want to be treated well, you need to treat others well first. It takes many forms in different cultures and religions:
- “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
- “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow.”
- “No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.”
- “Hurt not others in ways that you would find hurtful.”
- “This is the sum of duty: do not unto others which would cause you pain if done to you.”
- An even better variation namely the platinum rule states “Do unto others as they would want to be done to them.”
Treat others the way you want to be treated meaning
It means acting towards others the same way you wish for yourself. It goes beyond simply fulfilling duties out of kindness and guides people to even go out of their way to help others whenever necessary. Forgiveness, equality, and most importantly, love are the virtues that carry this golden rule treat others the way you desire to be treated.
The golden rule applies in personal life, business, and every other aspect of life. And to treat others how you want to be treated, you must follow the guiding principles stated above.
Remember to take responsibility for your actions if you want to successfully implement the golden rule in your own way of life.
So, how can you treat others the way you want to be treated in your daily life? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
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