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Should we really "treat others how we want to be treated"?

Welcome to this next take, where I take a spin on common phrases that I and many others grew up with. In the last post, I delve into the expression "The first step to fixing a problem, is realizing you have a problem" and its relation to acceptance. It was inspired by a session with one of my amazing clients.

Today, as I was listening to a class about relationships, I heard the phrase "Treat others like you want to be treated", which really took me down memory lane. Growing up, I was constantly told that and as a little kid, I took it literally. I imagined that if I am kind to others, they will be kind to me. What ended up happening was that I was always being overly kind and accepting towards others. Even when that wasn't reciprocated, by the same people that told me the phrase in the first place. I remember observing how someone was still very annoyed and angry even though I was kind and understanding (or so I thought). And that made me very confused.

Now after hearing this sentence again as an adult, I started to question the validity of this. Is this phrase perhaps missing an important piece about the treatment of others?

I am not saying that we should not treat each other kindly and with compassion. However, what this phrase is missing is the potential mismatch between my needs and the other person's. The consideration that the other person is different than you and they might have a different view on your actions.

I think a better way to say it is - "Go with compassion and understanding that each of us carries our own story with us. And that can cause miscommunication" Not as short and catchy but still gets the point across.

Interpersonal relationships are hard work. As we take time and energy to get to know ourselves it is equally hard work to get to know others and be vulnerable in the process. As long as we approach it with love, curiosity, and patience, it will all work out. If you need any support in the process, feel free to each out

With love,


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