How Would You Like It?

All too often I hear the phrase “how would you like it if…” used to make people stop and think about their behaviour. This raises two interesting questions for me.

The value of “treat others as you’d like to be treated”

I’m sure everyone’s heard some form of this idea. Do unto others as you would have done to yourself. This covers pretty much all situations. So why do people still find it difficult to accept? What is it about not tearing other people down that is a hard concept?

How selfish are we?

The other thought I have when I hear “how would you like it if…” is how selfish do we have to be that we only realise our behaviour is wrong if we put ourselves in the other person’s shoes. Surely we know that our behaviour is hurtful or damaging to someone, without having to imagine ourselves as the recipient. How highly do we have to view ourselves to think that being rude or disrespectful is acceptable unless it’s happening to us.

A friend once suggested to me that people only do nice things because of what they get out of it. I’d like to disagree. Why can’t we, as human beings, be kind and support each other just because it’s a good thing to do? I’d like to suggest something new. Rather than using “how would you like it if…” we just call the behaviour out for being rude or damaging or disrespectful and start to aim for a world where we treat other people well, not because we want them to treat us that way, but because we’re capable of empathy and kindness.

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