Most of us regard the “golden rule” as a noble ideal but totally impractical guideline. So, we instead live by the principle of doing to others as we have judged that they deserve. And that, in a nutshell, is why our world is so full of conflict
Abusive relationship partners are often relentless. They hate to miss an opportunity to denigrate and dominate. And over time, their victims can begin to see themselves in the same negative way their abusers cast them.
Civil discourse seems a lost art these days. But very human encounter affords us an opportunity for loving, healing, connection. So it matters how mindfully we engage one another. And it reflects upon our character.
We live in an exhibitionistic, self-aggrandizing, and self-indulgent society. It’s also largely an everyone for himself or herself society. It’s hard to become a conscientious, obligated, civil, and generous person in such an environment.
True generosity is generosity of spirit. It can be as simple as a kind word to an overburdened store clerk. Yes, it can mean giving money to those in need. But it’s really more about the spirit (and character) of the giver than the need of the recipient.
Treating others badly is not only bad for you (because it reinforces dysfunctional thinking an behavior patterns) but it also enables the person who’s treated you poorly to feel justified in the unhealthy attitudes and behavior they’ve exhibited.