When I was a kid my mother would often remind my siblings and myself to “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This was the Golden Rule. I have tried to live by that all my life. This is partly why when someone treats me poorly I will ghost them instead of retalliate. People think ghosting is a horrible thing to do. Trust me, it will quite often beat the alternative. I feel that if someone is going to treat me poorly then both of us are better off without me in their life. It is not that I won’t stick up for myself. I will. But when I am forced to go there, on behalf of myself or anyone else, I am a force that can only best be described as Biblical in nature. People are left wondering what the hell just hit them. I know…those who know me often would not expect that from me because I am such a jovial personality type. That jovial nature of myself is gregarious and loud. It is when I go silent that one has to worry…and I do mean WORRY. At that moment, rest assured, I will be plotting your immediate demise.
The problem with living by the Golden Rule is that others do not. Rules can be a way of ensuring order amidst chaos. But in a world FILLED with chaos I have noticed that the Golden Rule reads more like “Those with the gold make the rules…and those rules do not apply to themselves.” The rules are designed for the privileged and not for those who are not living an entitled life. The concept of fareness is pretty much obliterated. I am not under the delusion that fare is equal and equal is fare. What I am saying is that there are no scales to create a bit of balance. Our world is chuck full of greedy entitled folks who don’t really care about others in the world around them. Help those in impoverished countries? Heck no! These folks don’t even help their neighbors.
And when it comes to the legal system, which is SUPPOSED to have some semblence of order and create justice, what we are left with is huge gaps wherein people who cannot afford expensive lawyers are getting the short end of the stick, being convicted without proper defense and don’t even get me started on the inequities between white folks and those of color when it comes to the conviction rates! The entire system is rigged for the wealthy and privileged.
So how do we function in a dysfunctional system? Do we just keep our heads down and hope to the Gods that we don’t get pinned with anything? Do we try to make subtle differences a little at a time and hope that the ripple effect (which does exist but which also takes a long time) will kick in? Do we throw our hands up in the air and say, “I give up!”?
Personally, I choose to live out loud. I speak my mind and I know that this may very well lose me some friends and followers. I don’t care. If someone does not agree with me, they have that right. If this means that they feel that they can no longer be my friend, then so be it. If it means that they disown me from the family we are both part of, then so be it. I would rather live a life of total solitude that live it without authenticity. We don’t have to agree on everything. Thinking that we do just feeds into the Cancel Culture that is so dysfunctionally present in our world at the moment. I don’t have any agenda to change anyone. That is up to them. But I also do not intend to compromise my own beliefs and standards simply to make the masses feel comfortable. I can be flexible, yes, but I won’t be anything that is incongruent with who I actually am.
Case in point. I am very aware that my father-in-law is Catholic. He has some really old world views about what that means. I won’t buy into those views. The mere fact that I am with his SON and not his DAUGHTER should say a lot in that regard. However, I do like to have people feel comfortable when it comes to entering our home. So, where the Buddhist and Pagan images abound in our home, there is also a place for a crucifix on a wall in the dining room. I do not feel in any way that this compromises my beliefs. Nor does it mean that I am buying into his beliefs. But what it does say is, “I am open to many beliefs and ways.” This will, hopefully, help him to feel comfortable in our home. I don’t know if its presence has ever registered in his mind. But in case it does, I hope that it says, “Welcome.”
Living by the Golden Rule does not mean that we have to conform to anything or anyone. We simply need to be the best of ourselves that we possibly can. We treat others with respect, and that respect hopefully is reciprocated. If it is not, then we have the right to simply ghost them. We don’t have to declare war upon them or gaslight them. Simply not being there is enough. The Golden Rule does not mean that we have to treat others like we would want to be treated regardless of how they treat us. It means that this is a starting point. We treat them as we would like to be treated. Their behavior after that will determine where we go from there. We need not “turn the other cheek” because that simply gets our other cheek slapped. We just remove the cheeks altogether and leave them to their own toxic storm. And we do that after the FIRST hit…not after the fifty-first hit. It is completely alright to have solid boundaries. And those who get upset with those boundaries are the very people who were benefiting from the absence of those boundaries. Yes, they can be upset. Yes, we can still walk away.