Do to others as you would like them to do to you. Luke 6:31 NLT
The above Bible verse is universally known as “The Golden Rule”. It’s pretty simple really; treat people the way you want to be treated. It’s also common sense. We all want to be treated with respect, love and kindness, and we all know that the best way to receive these is by giving them. So why then are some people so mean? Why are there people out there constantly pushing other people’s buttons?
Anyways I realized something. People do generally treat other people the way they want to be treated… OK maybe not the way they want to be treated; it’s more like the way they feel they deserve to be treated.
Really? Yea really, because deep down inside some of us really don’t believe that we deserve to be treated kindly.
So what am I saying here? That assholes like to be treated like assholes? Well… yes and no. First off we are all familiar with the expression “misery loves company”. This is very true. For example if I genuinely explore my motives when I am in a pissy mood I will behave in a confrontational manner – I act like a real jerk. (Anyone who knows me will tell you I normally avoid confrontation at almost all cost). However when I am in a deep blue funk sprinkled with a bit of asshole dust I tend to act like a real shit. Why? Because I want to spread my pissy mood around. It’s not that I necessarily want to be treated like crap, or make the ones I love feel like crap, but rather at that moment I feel like that is how I deserve to be treated. I feel like the world is down on me and all I deserve is to have those around me down on me too. So I make it so. (Which by the way usually makes me feel worse). Warped isn’t it?
Let’s look at angry people: it seems they treat other people like crap because they are choosing to keep others at arm’s length. But why? I think they feel that they do not deserve to be happy, to be loved, and are afraid that if they do let some-one in it can and will only end in hurt. These people are generally blindsided by some-one who is kind and loving towards them, because in their opinion they do not deserve it. (and so they will often act out even worse to push that person away)
And then there are those people – kids especially – who will take any attention they can get and if they are not currently getting positive attention then they will act out in such a manner as to get negative attention because at least they are getting attention. However these people eventually become conditioned to the negative attention via negative behaviour cycle and after awhile they begin to feel that they are unworthy of positive attention.
I think it’s called self-fulfilling prophecy. “I am bad, worthless, stupid, hyper, in the way, ___________ (whatever fill in the blank) and do not deserve positive attention.”
So how do we maintain The Golden Rule? One that is so easy and so simple and so logical? How do we reach angry hurting people who believe themselves to be unwanted, unlovable, and undesirable? How do we convince them that they are worthy? That love, respect, happiness, and kindness are available for all people no strings attached, just because.
I have my days where I struggle with this simple truth, so what about those who have been damaged, whether by themselves or by outside sources, how do we help them, heal them and teach them? I think that if we really watched how those people treat themselves we would find that they do not generally treat themselves any better than the way the treat everyone else.
How do we convince the girl who feels that she is just a worthless whore, that she is beautiful and valuable? How do tell the young man that has been taunted and teased and called ‘fag’ his whole life that he has value and something amazing to offer the world? How do we, society, teach people to treat others as they want to be treated and NOT as they feel they deserve to be treated?
I don’t have any answer except to treat everyone with love, kindness and respect (yourself included), and maybe eventually we can reach the hearts that seem unreachable….