“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. It acts 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 it 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 a 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 often the last person that you should rely 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. Your identity consists of the beliefs, self-opinion, 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 or get pushed outside, it doesn’t feel like “you.” Each of us has our 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.
A fear-based belief is what motivates the personality. This belief is 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 you can and should rely on for your sense of self-worth: the soul.
It is a still, small voice that one can only hear, or rather, feel when the voice of the personality is 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 is not 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, until the frantic, discordant brass band of the personality drowns it out.
When to Discard Your Beliefs
Learning to ignore your harmful beliefs is one principle that may do more to save you from unnecessary suffering than anything else. At least, once you understand and practice it.
Part of the beauty of our design is that we have emotional intelligence built into us. Often, we may not be fully aware of the thoughts we believe at any given moment, but we are always aware of how we feel.
Our emotions is to give us feedback as to the quality of thoughts we believe at any given moment. If you understand this when you are feeling any “heavy” emotion, you will see the red flag of 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 when feeling lousy about yourself. Although the personality often convinces us to, these 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. Just wait and listen with intent for the soft flute of your soul. It will remind you of the truth of what’s important–and what’s not. Now, the words you speak to yourself will be words of truth that you would gladly speak to others.