Golden Rule

The first week of April is Golden Rule week. So, what is the Golden Rule? Never wear a dark bra under a light top? Well, that’s good advice but the Golden Rule is to treat others as you would like others to treat you. Or to put it another way, what you wish upon others, you wish upon yourself.

The Golden Rule was preached by Jesus of Nazareth at the Sermon on the Mount and he described it as the second great commandment. It is in some ways a catch all and makes some of the other commandments redundant. Would you want to be disrespected, stolen from or murdered? No? Well, be respectful, don’t steal or kill others then.

But it’s not Christian in origin. In fact, the earliest known reference to advice like it was by the Chinese sage, Confucius, in the 6th Century BC. It’s such good advice that almost every religion, movement and civilisation have had something similar from Ancient Greece and Rome, to Islam, to Wicca and Scientology.

What the Golden Rule is trying to teach or make us have more is empathy for others. People sometimes mistake sympathy for empathy and vice versa. So what is empathy? It’s the ability to share someone else’s feelings or experiences by imagining what it would be like to be in that person’s situation.

Being more empathetic increases the bonds between us and the love we have for each other. This concern we show for each other will make the world a more considerate, peaceful and equitable place.

Chad Kroeger (Canadian musician)put it very well when he said, “At the end of the day, the Golden Rule is called the Golden Rule for a reason – do unto others as you would have done to you. In terms of commandments you could probably just do that one and you would be well off. If everybody could adhere to that one, we’d be OK, as long as a masochist wasn’t in charge of people”.

So, what can you do to help? Well, everyone has the capacity of being empathetic. Empathy can be learned through practice, but it might means changing your mind-set. Trying thinking about things from other people’s point of view. Turn over a new leaf and ditch the Schadenfreude (pleasure or self-satisfaction that comes from the troubles of others).  Be tolerant, respectful, supportive and generous to others.

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