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Archive for March 30th, 2019

Dear Friends,

I was recently pondering on the concept of what we all know to be “the golden rule:” treating others as you want to be treated. This concept started in the Bible when Jesus was asked the question, which is the most important commandment? and He replied: “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:36-40).

The golden rule refers to what we should do because it’s the right thing to do and because it’s based on the commandment of loving others as we love ourselves. However, it doesn’t talk about the expectations of others’ behavior toward us. Therefore, I asked myself, “What if we practice the golden rule but the other person doesn’t reciprocate? How do I respond to that behavior so I don’t get hurt? How do I not get tired of doing the right thing when others don’t practice the golden rule on me?” As I reflected on these questions, the answer came to me: “lower your expectations of others not your standards.”

We cannot control others’ behaviors or actions. The only person we can control is our own self. Therefore, even though it may be common sense to us that others would also practice the golden rule, we should not expect them to. The higher our expectations of others, the bigger our disappointment may be at some point in our lives. Notice I said lower your expectations of others not your standards.

I have very high standards for myself in every area of my life. I believe leading by example is how you communicate your standards to those around you. Expectations are different. In the workplace, for example, as a leader, you need to communicate to your employees your expectations clearly so they understand their jobs well. But even then, they may disappoint you, yet you still should practice the golden rule on them and treat them the way you would want to be treated.

But my biggest challenge with having expectations of others is outside the workplace—with friends and family. Because I believe the golden rule of treating others as you want to be treated is common sense, I have high expectations of others. And that’s where I’ve gone wrong. I need to treat others as I want to be treated and expect nothing in return! That’s the key to not being disappointed. Simply treat others well, consistently, and don’t expect others to reciprocate or even acknowledge what you did for them. This is how you free yourself from resentment or holding grudges on a person when sometimes that person didn’t even think or intent to hurt you.

I don’t know if this reflection will help you or not, but it helped me to free myself from expecting anything from others—whether that’s in the workplace, with family, or friends. Pondering on these concepts help me stay focused on my personal walk with God. I hope it will help you too.

Here is my new golden rule: “Treat others as I want to be treated and expect nothing in return.”

 

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