Do You Follow The Golden Rule?

The Golden Rule — treat others as you wish to be treated — is a sentiment common in cultures and religions across the world. Do you follow it?

The idea is a simple one, easily stated, and easily understood. And yet, it can be very difficult to practice.

There are many reasons why you might not follow the Golden Rule. They might vary from self-interest, fear, or even kindness.

For instance, you might well think that you want someone to come to your aid if you are in trouble. However, fear might prevent you from helping someone else in a dangerous situation.

In another situation, you might tell a small lie to spare the feelings of someone you love, even if you think you would want the truth in return.

Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss this question: ‘What are our responsibilities to others?’ We also discuss another question as well, ‘Are we too busy?’

In our state and national politics, we see the Golden Rule violated frequently. One elected official, for example, may vote against offering aid to another state in a disaster, and yet accepts the helping hand when the disaster befalls them. No doubt you can think of numerous other examples.

There are endless opportunities to treat others the way you wish to be treated. In fact, just about every interaction with someone else is such a chance. It might be face-to-face, online, or from hundreds or thousands of miles away. It might include actions, speech, or even thoughts about someone else.

Can you think of notable examples where you followed the Golden Rule? Are there times when you didn’t?

Related questions: How do you serve others? What expectations do you have of others? How do other people motivate you? Why does social media often bring out the worst in us? Why do we hate?

3 thoughts on “Do You Follow The Golden Rule?”

  1. Admittedly, this is not a standard I actively seek to follow, as it is not a practice I reflect upon regularly and think about how I should pursue it. Most of the absence arises because I don’t think about how I’d like to be treated and then reciprocate in kind. Instead, I work to treat people with kindness. This is not only a good habit but also often disarms people, leading to a happier start to a conversation. I also attempt to treat people with grace, keeping in mind that I don’t know the issues, problems, or life circumstances others are going through. Finally, I try to make most people feel like I am excited to see them. It is the last point where I fall short most often. I either let my life get in the way of interacting optimally, or I don’t focus, which results in me not giving people the respect they deserve in a conversation.

    “Michael, there is always room for growth.”

    As more than a side thought, I just listed how I’d like to be treated: with kindness, with grace, and like people are excited to see me. With some more regular reflection and showing genuine excitement when I see people, perhaps I can say I try to follow the Golden Rule.

  2. It seems to me that people more often follow this rule: treat others the way you have been treated.

    This rule (I’m not sure what it would be called) allows for all sorts of bad behavior, given that these bad things have been done to you first.

  3. This question is causing me to think about how I wish others would treat me. A few things come to mind: I like to be treated with respect. I like it when people return my phone calls. I like feeling that I’m appreciated. I like it when people say hello and greet me with a smile. I like being thanked when I do something nice for someone. I could go on and on but these are a few things that come to mind.

    Do I follow the Golden Rule? I’m sorry to admit I don’t always treat others like I want to be treated. This is a good reminder to do better.

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