The “Golden Rule” — to treat others as you would like to be treated – should go both ways. You should also treat yourself as you would like to be treated. For many of us, this means realizing that we can meet many of our own needs which we may be waiting for someone else to take care of.
Treating other people as we would like to be treated may also mean more authentic social interactions.
Do You Put Yourself Down or Ask Too Much of Yourself?
If you treat others better than you treat yourself, it may mean that you need to re-examine the way that you treat yourself. Are you hard on yourself when you mess up? Do you expect too much of yourself by constantly asking too much of yourself? Chances are you don’t act toward other people this way. So why are you acting this way toward yourself?
As a human, you deserve the respect that you show toward other people. This isn’t only a feel-good statement, it’s also a practical outlook. When you ask too much of someone else, they aren’t able to get everything done. The same is inevitably true of yourself. If you put other people down all the time, they’re likely to stop trying. The same is true of yourself.
Monitoring our own thoughts can be hard. This is why it may be helpful to flip this rule around. When you make demands of yourself, or criticize yourself or treat yourself harshly, ask yourself how you would react if someone else were treating you this way.
If your boss asked you to take on another project, or your husband asked you to attend another event that you don’t have time for, would you stay up at night and arrive late to events or would you respectfully say that you have too much going on right now to take on anything else without letting someone down? If you made a mistake and a professor or a child snapped at you for it, would you stand up for yourself or would you let it get to you?
Do You Jump up to Meet Your Own Needs?
Treating yourself as well as you treat others doesn’t only mean avoiding burn-outs and insults, it also means making sure that everyone has everything that they need. If you notice someone feeling down, don’t you cheer them up? If someone is passing a milestone, might you not congratulate them or even buy them a present to mark the occasion?
We often show this kind of treatment to others or desire it for ourselves, but all of these are things that we can do for ourselves. Don’t be afraid to try to cheer yourself up, pat yourself on the back, and make sure that your needs are met just like you would for anyone else.
Are You Honest with Others?
Finally, if you treat others better than you treat yourself, it might mean that you aren’t actually treating them as well as you could be. In an effort to make people feel better or avoid hurting their feelings, we often fib to them or praise them a little more than they may deserve. This may spare their feelings but if they think that they are doing a better job than they are or if you catch a mistake that they made and don’t point it out, it is likely to catch up with them in the future. When you next enter one of these situations, ask yourself ‘Would I rather have someone compliment my work and make me feel good, or would I rather they point out a mistake that I made or tell me that something needs work?’ Chances are, even though we all like to feel nice, you would rather have your mistake or oversite pointed out before it became too late and that you should do this for others.
Now, compound your rule and ask yourself ‘If I had made that mistake or committed that oversight and someone else caught it, how would I like them to tell me?’ That you’re pointing out a mistake or a concern doesn’t mean that you have to do it in a way that is impolite or aggressive.