Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself
— Confucius, b. 551 BCE, The Four Chinese Classics, translated by David Hinton
Welcome to my series on applying the Golden Rule to everyday issues!
Most people know the Golden Rule means to treat others the way you want to be treated. But sometimes folks get hung up on how to apply it. A person might interpret it literally: “I want someone to bring me a cold can of Diet Mountain Dew right now; therefore, I should bring a cold can of Diet Mountain Dew to everyone right now.”
But I don’t know any mindful people who operate with such a strict interpretation. Instead, they’d say, “I have some particular food and drink preferences that I want others to respect; therefore, I’ll respect others’ food and drink preferences.”
And more generally, “I want people to recognize that my values and priorities might be different from theirs; therefore, I need to recognize that their values and priorities might be different from mine.”
With that out of the way, let’s dive into applications of the Golden Rule.