Empathy and the Golden Rule
The golden rule is “Do Unto Others as You Would Have Them Do Unto You”. It is watered down to being polite and not breaking social conventions. The need to have water-tight contracts and the prevalence of law-suits suggest the golden rule is not highly thought of these days. Rarely is it considered from the viewpoint of empathy first.
The Golden Rule and Empathy
Empathy is putting yourself in the other persons shoes. How would I feel if I was in their shoes? How would I want to be treated if I was in the same situation? Applying the golden rules means you would treat that person the way you would want to be treated. Do you want to be treated as if you cannot be trusted? Do you want to be blamed for circumstances outside your control?
Most people want to be treated with compassion, respect, love and some level of consideration. It can be extremely hard living in the “lucky country” with a relatively high level of comfort, peace and affluence to even consider the possibility that one day we could be the victims of war, victims of poverty, victims of political persecution. For many they cannot even put themselves in the shoes of the unemployed, disabled or mentally challenged who currently live among us. They tend to blame (judge) the person as being deficient in some way. Is this how you would want to be treated?
The Golden Rule as a Way of Being
Being the golden rule and treating all with empathy means you see all people as good within themselves. You look for the ways in which they can be empowered to rise above their situation. You alleviate immediate suffering if you are in a position to do so. Then encourage, inspire and work towards bringing out the good that is already in them. “Give a man a fish and he eats for one day, teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime”
We can live in a brighter and more beautiful world if we lean to live the Golden Rule as a way of being. Having empathy and compassion for all. Only fear keeps us from doing this. Would you like your life to be harshly curtailed either by death, imprisonment, poverty, prejudice and hate because of fear?
I pray for a more enlightened world.
Love and Light