The New Golden Rule

Many times, I stumble into situations where I have to remind myself, “You don’t have to do the same thing they do to you.”

This kept happening until one time I realized that it could be my new golden rule: Don’t do to others what the others are doing to you.

Just because someone gives you a lollipop, does not mean you are obliged to give them one too. The same goes when you find out that someone talks behind your back. The backbiting does not give you the right to do the same thing.

We sometimes tend to feel the urge to give something back to the other –either to express our gratitude or hate, or to avoid owing someone. It happens all the time and almost everywhere.

Take for example, in the world of social media. Have you ever encountered being in a dilemma on whether you should follow a stranger back in twitter or Instagram just because they did? I have. A stranger followed me on Instagram, Iaccepted it, but I did not follow back. Now, every time I check my Instagram, I always get a new follower notification and it’s that same person again. I do the same process again; accept and not follow back. It kept happening for several times giving me an idea that this person wanted me to follow back.

I had my reason why I chose not to follow the person. First, the person was a stranger to me and unlike Facebook, where accepting people should be filtered for privacy purposes, I felt like it was all right to let a few unfamiliar people follow me. And lastly, I wanted to share some of my self-proclaimed artistic photographs.

I believe that I have my choices (like a lot of us do) and remember the reason why I tried having an Instagram account – and it is not because I want to have a lot of followers, not even close. So I decided not to accept the person’s request anymore.

Aside from social media, we also encounter these scenarios in real life. Case in point is that when foreigners try their best to learn something of our culture, like language, we directly put ourselves in doing the same. Yes, there is nothing wrong in getting motivations from the determination of others. It adds up to our level of knowledge which is perfectly all right. But the point is, instead of saying “If they can, why shouldn’t we?” we should say, “We can because we want to.” There’s a difference.

But this “new golden rule” could also be used for all the right reasons. Admit it, there are instances when we feel that we need to go after the people who have caused us pain and take vengeance. But remember that hurting people, just to get even, does not make us the better one.

So don’t prioritize pleasing people in exchange for your beliefs no matter how petty that belief may be. Learn to take interest in doing things not because others are doing it but simply because you believe you are capable and because you want to feed your self-satisfaction.

I hope you get my point. You don’t necessarily have to accept it. Like what this column says, you have your own beliefs and you must stand firm on them.

Old Soul
Suzmita A. Villegas

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