I live by one of the oldest and most proverbial sayings that many refer to as, “The Golden Rule.” Through years of personal experiences I have come to accept that this “Rule” is one of the best and easiest ways to live life. Before every action I take, I ask myself, ‘Would I want someone to do this to me?’
“Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” It is very self explanatory. When I was in early elementary school, I did not understand this, though. I acted without thought and hurt many peoples’ feelings. Then when people started to pick on me, I was upset. This saying really hit home to me in 2nd grade when a kid who I had previously picked on decided to pick back. When I told him that he was not being nice, all that he said in response was, “Now you know how I feel.”
When I got home this really started to sink in. I understood that the bad feelings that someone had made me feel were the same feelings I had made them experience. In 2nd grade I still did not completely understand this though. As I got older and saw more bad emotions, I decided that if I did not like it, no one else would either. So I decided that I would never do something to someone if I would not want them to do it to me.
As I continued to get older, this belief grew with me. It became harder for me to always think before I would act. Yet I still work hard to make sure that I never purposely upset anyone. I have also come to realize that my behavior affects those around me. I have friends who used to be some of the biggest bullies in school, yet it is hard for them to bully someone who does not get upset and who does not retaliate. I noticed that once they had been exposed to me for a short while, their behavior began to improve. So by making sure I do not do something that would upset someone, I am also helping others to learn how to be more compassionate. Knowing that my actions were affecting how others acted also encouraged me to stick by my belief.
Sometimes it is very difficult to be kind. Sometimes I fail at it. Yet everyday when I get up, I take on the day with a smile and try again. It has taken many years for this belief to mature, and I also believe it is not finished. As long as I grow and experience new things my belief will grow with me. No matter what I experience though, I will always think to myself before I do something; “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.