Keeping the golden rule

I can’t remember the first time I heard the golden rule. I’d imagine it was in the presence of my grandmother who, ever wise in her ways, wanted to impress upon me in my younger years that I should treat others the way I want to be treated.

I can’t say I have followed it perfectly. After all, the adolescent mind is often selfish and uncaring; it leaves a great deal of room for one to treat others however the hell it wants to.

Now, as most people do, I have grown and found that there is much to be valued in treating others in a way that, if for no other reason, you would wish to be treated if you were put into their shoes.

I’ve thought a lot about the golden rule over Fall Break because that is what one does when they have an entire week without work or school — to dwell on how someone’s actions have made them feel and, in turn, what their actions have caused others to feel. In short, I had my feelings hurt by someone recently. And, for a long time after, I wondered in what instances in my life I had also caused someone to feel hurt or ignored a situation in which I could have done something helpful, and how I could ever possibly hope to make up for something like that.

Think about it for a moment. Are there things you have done or not done that you wish you could go back and change? Perhaps, you think the past is just that — something to be left behind because what good would dwelling on it do? Or is it as simple as “what goes around comes around” — everything evens itself out in the end, right?

I refuse to believe that there is anyone who doesn’t care about the consequences of his or her past or future actions, but the truth about us is obvious — humans are prone to err frequently and if one can make it even a week without acting in a way that ignores the feelings of others, that person might be in a coma.

The trick is taking each situation as it comes at you as a chance to do something good. You can’t go back and fix every flawed situation you have been a part of, but you can take each day as an opportunity to do something right for someone else.

It’s a new day. Use it to show the kindness you would wish to receive to everyone you cross paths with. Even if the kindness isn’t immediately returned, at least you’ve made a grandmother somewhere happy.

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