My Instagram profile says: “I believe in living with intention and kindness.” That sums me up pretty perfectly really. I truly believe they are two paths that will always lead you to live a beautiful and fulfilling life.
Yesterday, I was thinking a lot about the Golden Rule. You know the one. We’ve all heard it in some form. It is:
Can you imagine for a moment a world where this was absolutely true? A world in which we ALL treated one another truly how we ourselves would like to be treated. A world in which we had the time, energy and desire to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes.
I think it would be a pretty damn fine place to live.
Yesterday, I had just taken my 4 and 2 year old to the Dentist. I had promised them Chick Fil A afterward if they behaved (if you’re a Texan, y’all know what I’m talking about!). As I was driving into the Home Depot carpark, I saw a woman holding a sign asking for money to feed her family. She also had a daughter there with her, and perhaps her mother.
I’m far from perfect. As I drove past her, my mind was full of excuses as to why I shouldn’t be the one to help out. Surely someone else would.
- “I have cash in my wallet, but it is the exact right amount that I need to give to someone tomorrow.
- “I can’t really afford to give away any money right now.”
- “I only have $20’s…that is A LOT”
As I drove out the other side, I knew I would be driving right past them. The drive-thru had given me enough time to get my head in check and recognize what the higher part of me expected me to do. I knew which action would be in line with my Values.
Yes, there was some level of hassle to me if I gave her some money. I would have to go and get another $20 out in the morning. I couldn’t really afford it, but at the same time, yes I could. It wasn’t necessarily the easy thing for me to do.
To cut a long story short, I changed my thoughts by enacting the Golden Rule. I said to myself: How would I like to to be treated if I was in her shoes?
I would hope like hell that a woman like me would come along and be generous enough to give me a 20 so I didn’t have to stand out there in the Houston heat. I would hope that someone would see me as a human, and in need of a little help, but just as worthy as they were. I would hope that someone would just care.
So, I stopped being a grumpy, selfish tart, and I wound down my window and gave her some money. I pushed aside my excuses and took the higher path. I override the autopilot and consciously chose to act in alignment with what I say matters to me.
This is the bit that is the most beautiful of all.
She had tears in her eyes. In the split second that it took for me to give her the money, I could literally feel her gratitude like a wave that rushed over me. Her response was so genuine and full of warmth that I knew that she needed that $20 and that my gesture had meant the world to her.
The wonderful thing about being kind, is that the payoff is always two-fold.
As I drove away, I basked in the warmth I felt of knowing that I had improved someone’s day immensely in that moment. She made me feel like an Angel for that little moment in time. That feeling I had was worth far more than the $20 I had just given her.
I then went to bed and as I was drifting off to sleep, I recognized how grateful I was to have been able to give her that $20. I praised myself for overcoming my initial desire to withhold my generosity. I gave myself a pat on the back for enacting the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
And the reason I tell you this story (which I would usually just keep to myself and quietly enjoy), is that I hope it encourages you to choose the high road and override your autopilot when it is not encouraging you to be the highest version of yourself.
It’s not always easy in that split second, but it is always worth it.
When you live up to the person you aspire to be, you can’t help but feel so good about yourself. You become that higher version of yourself.
And I hope this reminds you to stop and just think for a tiny moment today about how you are treating your fellow humans. You don’t need to go and give a $20 note to every person in need that you come across … your aim should merely be to treat others like you would like to be treated.
Because wouldn’t the world be a truly beautiful place if we all really lived by this motto?
Hi. I’m Kate Snowise. I’m a Life & Executive Coach who helps people who want the good stuff out of life, get it. I believe life is about more than surviving and it being good enough. I have an MSc in Psychology (the positive kind that concentrates on what is right with you). To read more about my coaching it click here.