“The miracle of love comes to us in the presence of the uninterpreted moment.”- Byron Katie
We’re all familiar with the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
It’s the very foundation of moral behavior in civil society. All great religious and spiritual traditions have a version of the Golden Rule – acting as a fundamental principle of how to live life.
However, when it comes to how we treat ourselves, I believe there is an equally important, but lesser known and followed rule, I like to call the Platinum Rule: “Don’t do unto yourself what you would not do unto others.”
The Platinum Rule is particularly important when it comes to how we speak to ourselves.
How often do you berate yourself with the vilest of names and insults that you wouldn’t think of saying to someone else?
I read an article recently that was making the case for self-worth coming only from the person in the mirror, and not from what anyone else says about you. This is a common teaching, especially the part about not letting other people’s opinions and criticisms determine your self-worth.
But the person in the mirror is, more often than not, the last person that should be relied on for your sense of self-worth, at least the part of the person in the mirror that is doing most of the talking – the personality.
The personality is not your true self, it only thinks it is. When you think of your identity, you are most likely identifying with your personality – which is your personal collection of beliefs, self-opinions and regulations that all combine to form your personal safety zone.
So as long as you stay within the boundaries of your personality, it feels like “you” and if you either venture outside, our get pushed outside, it doesn’t feel like “you.” Each of us has our own unique size, shape and color of personality, and yet at the fundamental level, all personalities have the same nature that can be summed up in one word: Insecure.
The personality is motivated from a fear-based belief that it is never enough and always needs to improve itself so it can perceive itself as worthy, safe and secure.
Counterbalancing this tendency is an equally strong fear-based tendency to stay within the bounds of the comfort zone. This creates an inner tug-of-war that usually ends up in a confusing cycle of self-justification and self-condemnation.
The personality sees itself primarily in survival terms of defend and attack. If there is one phrase that captures the essence of the personality, it is this: “How dare you criticize me… that’s my job!”
However, there is another inner voice that can and should be relied on for your sense of self-worth: the soul.
It is a still, small voice that can only be heard, or rather felt, when the voice of the personality has been calmed or ignored. It is a voice that always comes from love, never from fear.
It speaks words of reassurance to a worried, anxious and self-condemning personality. It knows that your true worth is infinite and innate and cannot be earned through your accomplishments or un-earned through your mistakes. This is the voice you want to be, the one that reminds you of your infinite worth and how nothing you can do, or not do, will ever change that.
Following the Platinum Rule in your life is a daily decision. It is really just learning to discern between the frantic voice of the personality, and the calm and peaceful voice of the soul, and then choosing to pay more attention to the soul.
Your soul’s voice is there, because it is your true self. It is always there playing softly in the background. It is the wooden flute playing peaceful and uplifting music, but it is often drowned out by the frantic, discordant brass band of the personality.
When to Discard Your Beliefs
Learning to ignore your harmful beliefs is one principle, that once understood and practiced, will do more to save you from unnecessary suffering than anything else.
Part of the beauty of our design is that we have emotional intelligence built into us. We’re often not fully aware of the thoughts we believe at any given moment, but we are always aware of how we feel.
One of the most important uses of our emotions is to give us feedback as to the quality of thoughts we are believing at any given moment. If you understand this, then when you are feeling upset or any other “heavy” emotion – take it as a red flag that you are believing untrue thoughts. No matter how much evidence you have to support your belief in them, if you are feeling upset, you can’t trust them.
Do not try to solve any of your perceived problems or take defensive actions that your personality may be so convinced you need to take when feeling lousy about yourself – as these will just make things worse.
Trust your emotional intelligence – and not your personality’s insecurity – no matter how cleverly disguised it may be.
When you feel lousy, the best course of action is to do nothing and wait and listen with more intent for the soft flute of your soul reminding you of the truth of what’s important – and what’s not. As you do this, the words you speak to yourself will be words of truth and words that you would gladly speak to others.
Do you live by the Platinum Rule? It can be a lot harder to follow than the well-versed Golden Rule, however it’s certainly something that with practice, can be mastered. If you’ve found a technique that helps you discard your harmful beliefs and listen to the truthful calling of your soul, please do share it below.