compassion, insomnia, inspirational, kindness, life, mental abuse, mental health, mental illness, religion

Do Unto Others as You Would Want If You Were In Their Shoes

Everyone has heard the phrase from the bible “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.” This is a translation and most people have a general idea about what the point of it is. It is hard to know what the original words were or of they even translate into English with the exact meaning in tact.

I like to rephrase this in my own mind to “Do unto others as you would have done unto you, if you were them.” You can see that I added three simple words at the end.

I was thinking of writing about my reasons for liking to think of it and also why I teach this version to my children. it is not so much that the standard wording is bad or that anything is really wrong with it. This is not to offend anyone who sticks strictly to the exact wordings of the scriptures.

My version captures the original sentiment that was intended by the words, in a way that is safer and more clear, in my opinion. The reason for adding the last three words, is that people tend to assume that other people want to be treated the way that they want to be treated. People also assume that other people feel the same way as they do, about things.

Everyone is different and unless you are inside of another person’s brain, you do not know what it is like in there. A very simplistic example would be helping someone to bed.

If you were to attempt to recreate your most comfortable sleeping arrangements, in the name of making doing unto others as you would have them do unto you, then you might turn out the lights and cover them with blankets. However, it is very possible that the other person is most comfortable sleeping with the lights on and only a sheet covering them.

if we think of the original words, in a logical way, then it actually comes out the same as the version I like. “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.” Well what I would have done unto me, is that I would have the person check with me about what I feel. I would want to be asked and listened to.

So, if you were going to tuck me into bed, I would not want you to just assume how I feel safe and comfortable sleeping. I would not want you to turn out the lights, just because you like to sleep in the dark. I would want you to ask me how I want the lights to be. In my case, I would want something still on, but not necessarily a bright overhead light.

If i were to follow the rule “do unto others as I would want done unto me” then I would have to ask you how you wanted the lights and the blankets, rather than assuming that the way I sleep should be the way you sleep. I would want you to ask me, therfore to be true to “as you would have done unto you” I would have to ask you how I should tuck you in.

Do you want the blankets? Do you want darkness or a nightlight? Do you want a stuffed animal, like I sleep with? Do you want a kiss on the forehead to assure you that you are safe, the way I do with the old grandma’s I take care of for work?

The point is to respect the rights, feelings and thoughts of the other person. I feel like this has become a lost art.

So, now I say goodnight. Since you are curious to know…I sleep with 5 very soft blankets and no sheet. Sheets are too cold on my skin. I sleep with my socks on.

I like the bunny in his cage, right next to my bed for company.  I have to have a small light on. Never complete darkness. And yes, I do have my favorite stuffed animals in my bed with me My current favorites are my little cow, my little pig and my sheep that has a baby sheep in her arms. I will take some pictures for you tomorrow, but it is time to sleep.

Blessings and may everyone do unto others as they would have done unto them, if they were them.


1 thought on “Do Unto Others as You Would Want If You Were In Their Shoes”

  1. I took a conflict resolution webinar last fall and the speaker noted that in order to solve conflicts with others, we need to follow the platinum rule – do unto others as they would have done unto themselves. Your post hits the same points the speaker made. Often when managers speak with staff, they do not speak with staff the way staff would like (they way they themselves speak). People, then, become annoyed and angry, discontent and or disgruntled. Thanks for reminding of this rule!


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