We all learned it in Kindergarden: the golden rule. Treat others the way you want to be treated. As five-year-olds we are given many concrete examples of what this means and what this looks like. As adults it seems this rule can often be forgotten. How easy it is to offer a snide remark, engage in road rage with someone who is going too slow or too fast, to speak unkindly about someone for a wide variety of reasons. None of these are remembering the golden rule. Let's take a look at each of these situations and examine how we can each strive to remember the golden rule.
A Snide Remark. We have all been guilty right? It's so easy to get caught up in our own annoyance and instead of taking a minute, we react. Someone takes the parking space we were waiting for and under our breath we say "$?!&;:@." The gentleman bagging our groceries is taking exorbitantly long... and also putting things together in the bags that just don't go, you know like eggs with heavy items, raw chicken with vegetables, and we reply upon leaving, sarcastically "Yea, thanks a lot." Or to the guy riding your tail on the highway, going at least 80 and he's high beaming you to change lanes. You're at your breaking point. You change lanes so he can zoom by, and in doing so you give him the finger.
It's so easy to get caught up in reacting, but I would encourage anyone to take the moment before the snide remark, the unkind word, giving the finger. Think. Then don't react. Realize that the woman who took 'your' spot may be a new Mom, who hasn't had a good nights sleep for days, who's screaming baby is in the back seat, who hasn't eaten a meal since yesterday. Instead of cursing her, have compassion... she didn't even notice you waiting.
To the man bagging your groceries, slower than molasses and not the way you would choose to. First, be grateful that he is there doing it for you. Helping you. Then recognize that he is doing his best, perhaps it is taking him longer because he is methodically trying to do it the best way he can, for you. What I've found when I'm at the grocery store is no one acknowledges the baggers. Say hello, say thank you, show him/her that you appreciate that you didn't have to do it yourself.
To the guy who tailed you on the highway, flashed his high beams and proceeded to zoom past you. Before flipping him off, think about why he may be in such a pressing rush, he's late for a job interview, rushing to his child's school play or even, rushing to the hospital to see a loved one who's just had an accident. There are times in each of our lives when we are "that guy," in a rush for a reason that is in fact, very important. In those moments, I guarantee, none of us would appreciate being flicked off in addition to everything else we're dealing with.
See at the end of the day, we each want to be treated nicely, so treat others the same. You wouldn't want someone to curse you on a particularly hard day. You wouldn't want to not be appreciated for the job you do, the hard work you put into it. You wouldn't want someone to be unkind or cruel when you are going through a really difficult time. I think we should all revisit the first rule we learned, the golden rule and treat people the way we want to be treated.