Working with others:
All of us are familiar with the Golden Rule which says “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
This is an interpersonal rule from an intrapersonal perspective.
The problem with the Golden Rule is that it starts with you as the focus. As long as everyone is the same as you, this Rule works and gives you very good guidance.
However, as each of us is unique as an individual, the Platinum Rule teaches us to “Do unto others as they would like to be done unto.” Steven Covey offers the same advice in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People where he says, “Seek first to understand, then be understood.” The point here is that, in effectively dealing with others, we need to understand their point of view and gauge our interactions accordingly.
This is purely an interpersonal perspective.
While the Golden Rule might work when you are dealing with people who may be just like you, deploying the Patinum Rule will probably be more effective and work in more diverse settings.
Dealing with yourself..
Let me ask you a question I asked my students in my Personal Growth Class..
If other people said to you the same things you say to yourself about you, how long would you tolerate it?
When I ask my students this question, the answer is always “Not very long.” And yet, we tolerate it when it comes from ourselves.
Most of us tend to be very hard on ourselves when we make mistakes or when our lives are not going the way we would like them to go. In other words, we tend to be very unforgiving when we are criticizing ourselves, trying to correct our own behavior, or just rehashing all the errors we have made in our lives.
I would like to propose a Bronze Rule to help you deal with your own issues.
The Bronze Rule says “Do unto you as you do unto others.”
The point here is that, in general, we all tend to be our worst critics. This wouldn’t be so bad, by itself, except that when you tell yourself something, you tend to believe it without question. You do not apply the same filters to your own self-talk that you do to the comments others make about you.
When an associate, your kids, or a friend make a mistake, you probably attempt to understand them, give them the “benefit of the doubt”, offer some reassuring comment, or attempt to be supportive in some way. I am not saying that you avoid holding them accountable. I am only saying the the way you deliver your message may be couched in “warm fuzzies” rather than prickly thorns.
When your self-talk is directed at you, however, it is often “no holds barred”.
So, the Bronze Rule reminds you to implement some self-compassion when you are addressing your own issues.
When you are being hyper self-critical, stop, take a breath, and ask yourself how valid the criticism is, are you being overly harsh, is there another way to look at your situation, and so forth.
I am not saying that you should let yourself off the hook, so to speak, or that you should be too easy on yourself. I am only saying that you should give yourself the same consideration and compassion you give others when they make a mistake or mess up.
I welcome your comments.