What is the Golden Rule

What is the Golden Rule

The golden rule is one of the most basic rules of human behavior, and is advised by every major faith in the world. Read on to know more about this wonderfully simple tenet...
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. ~ Matthew 7:12

In simple terms, one can say that the "Rule" is actually a concise form of the modern concept of human rights. It talks about how every human being has the right to receive justified treatment and also has the responsibility to provide the same to others. It is an ethical code which states that one should treat others in the same way as one would like others to treat them. The main aim is to promote empathy, i.e., feeling what others feel.

Some people believe that the rule originated in Christianity, but the earliest form dates back to nearly 3000 BC, in Hinduism and other ancient religions. Given below are the various forms of the rule from various religions.

Form of the RuleSource
This is the sum of duty. Do not unto others that which would cause you pain if done to you.Hinduism
What is hateful to you, do not to our fellow man. That is entire Law, all the rest is commentary.Judaism
That nature alone is good which refrains from doing unto another whatsoever is not good for itself.Zoroastrianism
Hurt not others in ways that you find hurtful.Buddhism
Surely it is the maxim of loving kindness, do not unto others that which you would not have done unto you.Confucianism
One should treat all beings as he himself would be treated.Jainism
Regard your neighbor's gain as your gain and your neighbor's loss as your loss.Taoism
Do not do to others that which would anger you if others did it to you.Socrates
Treat your inferiors as you would be treated by your superiors.Seneca Tradition
Therefore all things whatsoever you desire that men should do to you, do you even so to them. For this is the Law and the prophets.Christianity
Be charitable to all beings, love is the representative of God.Shinto Tradition
No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.Islam
We obtain salvation by loving our fellow man and God.Sikhism

How to Incorporate the Rule in Your Life
  • The first thing that one needs to practice is empathy, and putting yourself in someone else's shoes and try to understand how you would feel if someone treated you as you did that individual.
  • Once you realize how bad the person must be feeling, you have to practice ways of alleviating that pain.
  • Behave in a friendly manner with everyone. Yes, you will sometimes come across people who will not reciprocate your feelings, but you should not let that put you down, since that is the whole point of the golden rule.
  • Stop criticizing others unfairly. I am sure even you would not like it if someone criticized you in the same manner. Try to think in a positive manner, and evaluate the criticism you are about to utter in your own mind.
  • Stop controlling others in a way you would not like others to control you.
As Mahatma Gandhi once said, one should be the change they would like to see in the world. Start with yourself, and the world will soon follow. If you start behaving according to the golden rule even in the face of adverse conditions, over time, it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy, and eventually even people who were hostile to you will mellow down, and will start practicing the golden rule themselves, maybe without even realizing it!
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