Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Golden Rule

You've heard the adage 'treat others the way you want to be treated' countless times. It's the Golden Rule and typically, it is great advice. It is both a normal expectation and an admirable quality to base your consideration of others on how you want to be considered. What happens, though, when how you want to be treated is not equal to how you deserve to be treated?

Relationships are one of the most important aspects of life. In your connections you find support, understanding, healing, love, and essentially, a reflection of yourself. Those who love you make the choice to be a part of your life and include you in theirs. It's a commitment. Even when the love is there, though, if you take that love or the people giving it for granted and ignore their needs and become distant, doubt begins speaking louder than trust. Your loved ones will question if they are in the relationship, or feeling a level of openness and safety all by themselves.

How you feel about yourself impacts how you treat those you love. If you don't think you're deserving of honesty, support, and care then your behavior will reflect that and you will sabotage your relationships and what you need. Rather than lean into your support, because you don't trust it and don't believe you deserve it, you pull back. Without realizing it, you treat your loved ones in the way you think you should be treated and in this instance, it's less than what all of you deserve.

In order to fully understand the sentiment behind treating others the way you would like to be treated you have to also understand how you should be treated. You may know that you don't deserve to be abused, lied to, cheated on, betrayed, or ignored because those are extremes. Those are easy to identify and reject. There are more subtle behaviors that you also don't deserve. You don't deserve to open up to someone and have him/her retreat. You don't deserve to consistently prove yourself trustworthy because of the actions of another. You don't deserve to have to face difficulty alone. You don't deserve to want an embrace and not feel vulnerable enough to ask for or accept one. You don't deserve to feel like you are in a relationship of any kind by yourself and neither does anyone you love.

Emotions can be scary. Depending on others to be there when you need them can be terrifying. Yet imagine how it feels for your significant other, parents, children, siblings, or close friends to have to deal with the normal fears of trusting and letting go combined with your refusal to trust them and let go. When you fully understand, appreciate, value, and love you then, and only then, can you truly understand, appreciate, value and love others.

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