We all know the basis of the golden rule “Treat others how you would want to be treated” but is there another side to that? Do you still treat others how you would want to be treated when they blatantly disrespect you? This is a very valid question because I am sure all of us have been in situations where were we disrespected to a point of losing our character, but should we allow someone else to dictate our actions?
“How they treat me if they’re assholes. How I would like to be treated if I like them”//”Kill them with kindness never really worked in my favor”
Responses were fairly split when it came to informants but this particular informant wanted to make it known that she will treat you how you treat her. With her strong stance, I had to play devil’s advocate by asking her why she allows others to dictate her actions and her response was just as strong. Her past has clearly molded her stance on how she treats individuals now and no one can critique her for that. Another informant that agrees with this stance said she will treat everyone how she would treat anyone of her friends but if your actions toward her change she will change as well. She said, “If someone begins to be rude to me, I would reciprocate that, but I wouldn’t be a bitch first.” I believe a good portion of people fall in this category in general. We tend to flow with tide of other people, “if you’re nice to me, I’ll be nice to you but if you act up, why shouldn’t I?” I think this is a result of us as humans, wanting to be even or better than the other person. If you do X, then I’ll do Y to one up you.
“I treat them better… If you go into it with the mindset that you were genuinely kind without seeking anything in return you won’t feel jaded if they don’t return the favor”
This informant is on the other side of the equation by continually treating someone the way he would want to be treated regardless of how they treat him. His quote is very powerful because when you think about it, often times people engage others seeking some benefit but by the way he describes his approach, he does not treat people well to be treated well, but he treats people well because that is what he desires to do. So when people mistreat him he does not hold malice because they are not the reason he treats people the way he does. Another informant that agrees with this approach says she does it because she never wants to do wrong by anyone but it can become tiring because in some ways because she ends up feeling that she does a lot more for others than they do for her which is very retable for those who are in this category. Another informant decided to treat others this way regardless of how they treat her because she would never want to put someone through the pain that they put her through which is a very noble approach but some people end up on the opposite side due to the pain they have been put through. It was stated that when you really love someone and they are not treating you right, treat them the same way they treat you, not to be vengeful but to show them what they are doing to you and maybe they will get the message. That was a new perspective I had not thought about before but it made sense.
For me, I identify with the second paragraph strongly. I treat people well because I love to foster relationships, I enjoy making others smile, and I really do care about everyone but this allows me to be taken advantage of because I leave myself open for people to gather what ever they need from me without contributing something of substance to our relationship. It is a very unpleasant feeling but half of the time I am disappointed in myself for allow it to happen over and over again and at times, I even try to treat others how they treat me but I eventually revert to my old ways because that is who I am naturally. I cannot gain satisfaction from something that does not appeal to my core character. What are your thoughts and of course thank you for your opinion.
Photographer: Larry Feazell. Find more of his work at Apriva