“And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.”   – Luke 6:31

There’s an old joke about the Golden Rule and masochists — the point being, there are some folks who might take “treat others as you’d like to be treated” to unpleasant and uncomfortable places. What it really comes down to is this: The Golden Rule presumes that people wish to be treated well. And really, who would disagree?

You’d be surprised. Most people would concur that thinking one’s self more important than other people can be construed only as arrogance. On the other hand, many of us have been programmed to believe that putting ourselves below others is humility…something to be sought after.

Well, there’s humility, and there’s masochism. And some of us veer a little too close to the latter, especially us caregiver types. It’s time to ask yourself: Do you put your needs last, after everyone else’s? Do you expect more from yourself than from those around you? How often do you make yourself a martyr? And how surprised would others be to be called the things you call yourself in the privacy of your own superego — words like fat, stupid, weak, lazy?

The Golden Rule assumes a certain estimation of ourselves…that we know ourselves to be important, good, worthy. And if you don’t, you’re just as guilty as the selfish so-and-sos Ruth writes about. It’s a two-way street. So I ask you: Which direction are you driving?

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