Feature image the Good Samaritan by Vincent van Gogh
I can remember my kindergarten teacher telling the class that we will live a happier life if we always abide by the Golden Rule. I’d like to think in my thirty-some-odd years, I actually learned a little something about life in general; but the most important, hands down, is still the Golden Rule. I have tried to get around it; but no matter what, my decisions seem to be based on “treat others how you want to be treated.” For many years, I thought I could avoid it, only to find myself finally understanding the meaning, grasping the concept and accepting the inevitable responsibility associated with that not-so-simple rule. It was not easy; I would at times have probably opted for a third-eye rather than change my behavior. I was pleased to conclude I had a full-fledged epiphany recently, when I was in a situation I had longed to be in, just to verbally rip somebody to shreds–only to get the chance and act like a responsible adult! I’d like to share my latest “Golden Moment.”
This not-so-pleasant encounter was one I had played out in my head and in my dreams many times. In my mind, I would come face to face with “Cathy.” Cathy was the unofficial spokesperson for her family. She would toss around allegations of deceit, greed, dishonor, and my personal favorite–love, all in an effort to rid herself and her family of years of wrong-doing. Now, mind you, as I stand and listen to the spewing of such allegations, you’d think my offense was due to them being aimed at me. Well, the funny thing is, they weren’t. I found myself standing in the face of an accuser of a beloved friend of mine. My extended family was also inadvertently being slandered–a big no-no in my book. Usually, I’d wake from the dream, but yesterday, it was no longer a dream. It was a reality. What was I going to do? What was I supposed to do? There she was–Cathy. Our eyes met; she rattled off almost verbatim what I’d heard in my dreams. I could feel my face stiffen and my palms begin to pulsate. I knew this familiar feeling. Then I remembered: Dammit! We were in public!
While it was difficult to do, I had to go to Plan B, the Golden Rule. This experience brings me to my top 5 times to ALWAYS remember the Golden Rule:
1) When you are in public. There are way too many security cameras, and almost everybody (and their mama) has a cell phone with a video feature. That means the odds there will be a witness, or fifteen, is very likely.
2) When you are around your children. Lord knows the last thing you need is a kid, especially your own, repeating your behavior. It’s hard to explain why you’re acting like an ass, but you expect them to act like they are not zoo animals.
3) In front of your boss or your boss’s boss, etc. How else are you going to talk your way out of “Your strong personality sometimes comes off as offensive”? You can’t very well say, ” Oh, quit being a wuss.” So I caution you to especially choose your words carefully in this situation. After all, if you didn’t “need” the job, you wouldn’t be there.
4) When there are no seats available on public transportation. You can clearly assess when someone else is in need of one more than you are. That means, get your butt up and let the eldery, handicapped or drunks sit down. You will one day grow old, could perhaps become disabled yourself, or just be piss drunk one day and need to sit down so you don’t puke. One word–Karma.
5) When you speak of the deceased. I just think that is a touchy situation. I have made my intentions very clear to my friends and family: ” I will haunt you if you disrespect my memory!” I think that would be awesome, being able to haunt the people you want to just mess with or mess with the ones you don’t like.
I never thought I’d get the chance to say what I’d waited years to say to Cathy, but I did. Not only did I do it, (so what if it wasn’t my first instinct; I still did it!) I did it remembering the Golden Rule. I trust everything happens for a reason, and so I don’t think my encounter with Cathy was by any means accidental, as it was inevitable. I thought about my words carefully and said what needed to be said, without insults or curse words; although, that was not how we played the scene in my dream or plan A. Nonetheless, I felt better about myself for how I handled my behavior in the end. Don’t get me wrong; I still think Cathy is a whack-job, but she and the passers-by don’t know I think she’s one.
Taking responsibility for your own actions is so much easier when you treat others how you want to be treated. It’s not easy making hard decisions, but for the most part, when you conquer the tough choices like I did and behave like a rational human being, the rest is a piece of cake. You can always choose to change for the better; it’s a personal decision. I’m a better person today than I was when I was younger (and boy, do I have some stories there)! Still, I am far from perfect, and I carry my burdens as a result. I will even graciously share the burdens of my loved ones as well, so long as they limit the drama and I’m not expected to post bail for anybody on a regular basis. Other than a select few, I will still have their backs. Why? Well, because it’s how I’d want to be treated. A piece of unsolicited advice for Cathy-always remember the Golden Rule. Hell, I’ll even pray for you!