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Treat Others the way THEY want to be Treated

For those of you who have kept up with my previous blogs, you may have noticed my love for acknowledging/toying around with popular sayings and clichés. I consider this important and enjoyable because so many of us have built up strong beliefs and values that are based solely on these man-made psychological/behavioral concepts. Such sayings have become ingrained in many of us as automatic set rules that we not only follow ourselves, but continue to teach our children, students, clients, etc. Anything that is influencing our minds, behaviors, and global functioning to this level, I feel, is worth exploring.

I’m assuming you noticed what I did to this blog’s title, right? Perhaps it rattled your brain for a moment as it challenged the mantra you’re so used to, OR maybe your brain simply “auto-corrected” the title to make it into the saying you assumed it should be. It’s possible you may not have even read passed the first two words in the title due to your confidence that you knew where the rest was going…

Well, ha! Either way, whatever potential reaction of surprise, intrigue, or confusion the title may have ignited just goes to show how valuable it is to introduce a fresh twist to our set perspectives from time to time.

So perhaps you’re wondering what’s wrong with the immensely popular idea “treat others the way YOU want to be treated.” Well, nothing really. The message therein is nothing other than to ensure our showing of the kindness, respect, and love to others that we would want to feel ourselves, as well as our refraining from promoting the kind of hurt and disrespect toward and devaluing of others that we wouldn’t want from them; a message of true beauty and inarguable-significance.

For this reason, I want to make clear that my suggestion to treat others the way THEY want to be treated is not meant as a “correction” to a flawed philosophy. Instead, my purpose here is only to offer an equally-valuable alternative; an alternative that is likely to fit more accurately within certain contexts/life situations and therefore broaden our opportunities for greater success in our jobs, relationships, etc., even more.

So how do we treat others the way they want to be treated? The thought is likely to bring up some anxiety or frustration as there may not seem to be such an easy answer. What if they never tell us what they want or don’t want? How are we supposed to read their minds? Isn’t it easier to just assume that whatever makes us happy will make them happy too?

Believe it or not, the answer is simpler than we think and is actually maintained, in part, by our beloved “treat others the way you want to be treated” moral code. If we can assume that all others are likely striving to treat us the way they would like to be treated themselves, then in whatever they do for us it becomes quite clear how they would like to be treated too, right?

Let’s go over some examples:

  1. It’s likely safe to assume that your spouse or parent who clears away your plate after dinner every night and proceeds to wash it for you is letting you know that he/she finds that to be the right and caring way to show you love. In taking note of this, you may want to try being the one to do this task and see what kind of impact it has. Explain to your partner/parent, “I’ve noticed you do this for me every night and I appreciate it. I’d like to start doing it for you too."

  2. It may also make sense to assume that if our partners make a big deal about our birthdays every year (even when we plead for them not to!) it likely hints at the way they feel about THEIR birthdays. Now, suppose in this scenario we treat our partners the way we want to be treated ourselves... … sadly, doesn’t sound like they would be having many birthday wishes coming true any time soon. What’s just as unfair i