Strange how that works, is it not? Adults teach one thing but practice another. Being the rebel that I was, more a quiet storm until later in life when roaring became my mode of speech, I would constantly question this maxim. Granted, I did try as long as possible to conform.
In my effort to live by The Golden Rule, I became a doormat. Thinking that kindness would be return if I bent over backwards and stood on my head for others, my younger years were spent doing some serious mental and psychological aerobics to be “good.”
“According to Simon Blackburn, although the Golden Rule ‘can be found in some form in almost every ethical tradition’, the rule is ‘sometimes claimed by Christianity as its own.’ The "Golden Rule" has been attributed to Jesus of Nazareth, though he himself uses it to summarize the Old Testament: "Do to others what you want them to do to you. This is the meaning of the law of Moses and the teaching of the prophets" (Matthew 7:12 NCV. (Source: Wikipedia)
A Priceless Principle would be my name for the lesson that was taught to me after years of trying to “do unto others…" and falling flat on my face:
“You teach people how to treat you by what you allow.”
My experience has taught me that others will do unto me what I allow them to do, not necessarily what I have done unto to them. Over my 40+ years, many times I have gone without money to pay my own bills as my salary paid off someone else’s debt. Sardines, Spam (which I quite enjoy) and other canned fish or meat have been my supper, breakfast AND lunch many a weeks while my grocery funds bought essential vegetables, protein and medication for another. In more recent times, my experience has been that I walked away from lucrative and prestigious situations (let us say) in order to stand up for others.
What was my ‘reward’? Financial loss, infidelity and even bankruptcy as the “others” did not find it necessary to “do back to me” in kind.
From these situations I also learned a couple others things:
- Never do for others with the expectation of a return.
- If I cannot give freely and unconditionally, then do not
- Check my intention and motivation before doing anything. If it is self-serving, forget it.
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Have a great rest of the day and Happy Canada Day tomorrow to my fellow Canadians!