by TSSG founder and Executive Director, Nickie Kromminga Hill
I grew up with The Golden Rule being hammered into my brain (not literally.) My family and my church made sure that I knew to “do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” I’m grateful for this as I have lived a good portion of my life adhering to this mantra, and for the most part, it has served me well.
The sentiment behind this is excellent: treat people with respect, kindness, generosity…all of those great words we use to describe behaving like a wonderful human being because everyone wants to be treated well. But it only goes so far.
I’ve just learned of The Platinum Rule and it has changed the game for me: “Treat others the way THEY want to be treated.”
YES. I love this. I’m actively applying The Platinum Rule as often as I remember to (old habits die hard.)
Here are a couple of ways that I’ve implemented this into my life:
- I’m a hugger by nature. I’ll go in to hug anyone, even a stranger. My intentions are good! I want to be welcoming and loving even to someone I don’t know. However, lots of people don’t like to be touched, especially from someone they’ve never met! Understandable. I’ve recently started asking people how they feel about hugs, and many have told me that they don’t like them! Awesome! Fantastic! Thank you for telling me. I’m sure we can have a great interaction even though I’m not making you hug me. (Apologies to all I’ve perhaps made uncomfortable!)
- A friend at work likes to have a few minutes to settle in before starting with the chit-chat. I’m similar. So, instead of bombarding her the second she gets there (How are you? How was your day today?) I’ve started waiting about 5-10 minutes before saying anything other than Hi. This gives her a chance to get going on her day, and it means she’s not stressed out when engaging with me.
These are small gestures that can have a big impact. There are so many ways to incorporate The Platinum Rule into our daily lives: gently wake a person up instead of screaming at them (which may mean starting to wake them up earlier than normal), if your partner has asked you to not tell that embarrassing story about them in public…don’t tell it, if you know someone is having an awful day and they just need some time alone to process, afford them that, don’t keep pressing unless they are ready.
This may mean that you will have to ask some questions that you aren’t used to asking, and/or pausing to get a good emotional read off of another person. But don’t they deserve that? Don’t YOU deserve that?
Take a moment and think about a time that you wished someone would have treated you differently. Maybe you wish that they wouldn’t have assumed something about you. Maybe you wish that they would have watched their tone. Maybe you wish that they just pause for half a second to think about how you were feeling before they said that dumb thing to you.
What if that person would have used The Platinum Rule on you? Would your feelings on that situation have turned out differently?
So, if you aren’t trying already, I ask you to incorporate The Platinum Rule into your day today. Notice how it feels, is it difficult or easy? Do you need more practice? And notice how you would like it applied to you. Is this something you can teach in your home, office, place of worship?
Let’s spread sunshine by treating others the way they’d like to be treated!