Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Rethinking the golden rule

We've heard it all our lives: Do unto others as you would have done unto you.  Or... Treat people the way YOU want to be treated.

And I agree...to a point.  But I think the golden rule is inherently flawed.

Here's why:

When I am sad or in a bad mood, here's what I want: I want to be gently teased, and then shown affection, warmth and understanding. I want someone to say, in a sweet voice, "do you want to talk about it?" And give me a hug and that's that. I'm that easy to cajole back into happiness.

And that's generally how I treated my friends when they were down.  With hugs and affection and humor of the situation.  It worked fairly well.

Then I married Tad.  And when he was in a bad mood, I would put my arms around him and gently ask if he was okay and give him hugs....  And he did not like that. At all.

And when I was in a bad mood, he'd tease me relentlessly. And then give me space.


So finally we had a conversation and it turned out that he was treating me the way HE wanted to be treated and I was treating him the way I wanted to be treated.

So we switched. And now when I'm upset, he puts his arms around me and asks me if I want to talk. And when he's upset, I joke around, tell him to buck up, and then I give him space. 

Muuuuuch better.

Now, this weekend, I was a bit pre-full-moonish (if you catch my drift) and being really cranky. 
And then went over to Tad and stood near him.
Me: I want you to hug me and tell you that you love me.
Tad: (smirking) Well it's kind of hard.
Me: *frown*
Tad: I mean, I DO love you and here... (gives me a hug)  But you know, you're being really difficult. (smirking again)
Me: What!?
Tad: It's just difficult to to show you affection when you seem like you don't want it.
Me: (crossing my arms)
Tad: I'm sorry. I shouldn't tease you.  It's just when you tell me that I'm being difficult, it's really helpful. Isn't this helpful?
Me: No! I don't mind if you tease me. I just don't want you to be honest with me!
Tad: (laughing) What?!!
Me: Don't tell me I'm difficult while I'm being difficult.  Tell me later.  Hmph.
Tad: (laughs and hugs me)

Granted I was being a little ridiculous, but you see how it works....

So, the new golden rule (It's more effective in the end but requires communication):

Treat others the way THEY want to be treated


Do unto others as they would have done unto themselves.

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