Aspiration or Inspiration?

“Treat others as I would like them to treat me.”

It’s a wonderful basis for living, and I adopted it many years ago. Of course, how effective I have been is open to debate, but I like to think that my “compliance percentage” is quite high. The problem though is that it is often misunderstood. I know that because, when I broach the concept with some people, they respond with “Aren’t you disappointed though when they don’t behave accordingly, or when you go out of your way to help somebody, but they never reciprocate … don’t you wonder why you bothered?”

It is so important to understand that the quote was not “Treat others as I would expect them to treat me”, but rather “as I would like them to treat me.”  Understanding the significant difference is important if one intends adopting that concept. An “expectation” that is not achieved can be really disappointing … but a “like” that does not follow through is just a part of living.

There are a number of areas which are important to understand if we are to role model effectively.

We have to understand that each of us is a product of so many factors – parental influences, childhood experiences, teen experiences, location, lifestyle, traumatic experiences, success and failures etc. etc.

Romantics will often stress our uniqueness; our individuality. They  are quite correct. Because we are all exposed to so many (and varied) influences as we proceed through life, we are indeed absolutely unique individuals. This means that I need never be disappointed at how “you” behave. I could of course not like how you handle a specific situation, but I just need to remember that your life influences are different from mine. If I can always remember that, then I can accept what you do/don’t do. I may not like  your actions in a specific situation, but I can accept that your life has taken you in that direction.

I am reminded of a lesson I learned many years ago when my two teenagers were being particularly challenging – “There is no reason why you cannot always love your children. You may not love what they do, but you can always love them for who they are.” – My issue with that was learning to separate the person from the action. I did not find that easy to do, but it makes so much sense when you think about it. Why should we stop loving anybody simply because of what they did, when all they did was behave in accordance with their life experiences?

We should perhaps each spend a little time to understand who we are … what/who were our biggest influences … who we admired, and why, as we grew up … what made us happy, and what brought us to tears … our emotional highs and lows …. our successes, and our failures.

If each of us was a cake recipe, it would indeed be a very complicated recipe, and each cake would be unique. Once we have grasped that perspective, it is so much easier to accept others simply for who they are.

“Treat as others as I would like them to treat me.”

Does this provide a goal for you to aspire to, or does it simply inspire more thought? Regardless of your answer, somebody once said “Role model how you would like the world to be.” There are more of us than there are politicians so, rather than wait for our leaders to move in this direction, we should simply take charge and demonstrate our desire for a better world. There are millions of us, so can you just imagine what such a common perspective could achieve?



17 thoughts on “Aspiration or Inspiration?

  1. I recently received a Comment against this Post, which had a very unusual (at least to me) presentation. The words were loosely grouped in a vertical format. Upper and lower case lettering seemingly applied randomly, and without any punctuation. It could well have been in some poetic structure, or any number of other explanations, however, I believe that there is little point in communicating in a manner where the reader has difficulty understanding the message being conveyed. In the spirit of communicating the Comment, after all somebody did take the time to create it, I have changed it into a more conventional format, without changing any of the words or their sequence, and have punctuated as best I could! I offer my sincere apologies to the writer(s) if I have totally misrepresented their original work. I did email them for clarification but did not receive a reply:

    “Smiles – Indeed a golden rule is a story of much suffering. Even an introvert and an extravert living together cannot be expected to love each other. How they individually see life and have peace  and harmony, empathy fails  now. Yes … love until we learn the cognitive part of understanding, and have both chocolate and vanilla ice cream at the dinner table of love. Why … there are a zillion different religions, sects of one, and a different view of reality in each eye. Love is a never ending art of unwrapping ‘The Present’. Not the kind of reality we will ever fit in a book, a word, or one man, or one golden rule of aphorism, in a world of more than one color. Yes … recipe for love ever coloring.More where some folks try to make it all fixed in stone … falling to a bottom of an ocean, gasping for colors of breath… More “Ain’t Life Grande”. So many flavors at Starbucks” yet some folks still insist on only black coffee. Oh to have sympathy for Orange Devils true too!”


  2. Oh Colin! How many people have I known that based any action on “what have they ever done for you” when the reward is in the doing or giving. I think your post is so right on. And my role model was my dad who had next to nothing but gave of himself and taught us kids charity. It has served me well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A pity that so many others never had such a role model. When a “friend of a friend” (of mine) needed a home in order to come to terms with a traumatic experience, I approached them … and they accepted her into their home without question. After my parents had died, she commented on how she felt that she was treated as if she was a daughter. What wonderful role modelling. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sounds like good advice, to me. It’s a good way to stop a tit-for-tat war, or to prevent one from starting in the first place. We don’t have to treat others the way they treat us, although sometimes I think it’s a good idea to avoid certain people.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your reflections about your teenagers reminded me of the old Baptist saying, “Hate the sin, but love the sinner.”
    I think we CAN live by this golden rule, but CAN’T expect any compensation or like-treatment in return. We are the better/bigger person if we enter this philosophy with no expectations of recompense at all.

    Liked by 1 person

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