I’m listening to ‘I Think We’re Alone Now’, by Tiffany- and part of the lyrics reminded me of something.
This post is not going to be all that directly related to the song; just the line: “Children, behave.”
So many of the things that I feel like I’ve learned, the ones that actively improve my quality of life (and that of those around me) — are things I already knew.
Just- didn’t believe, or didn’t believe enough.
That whole ‘do unto others’ thing is a perfect example.
I’ve been thinking about that concept a lot lately, in relation to what I feel like I’ve been seeing some on Twitter.
I think (maybe!) part of the problem may lie in us tending to mistake the things about us that make us truly unique- for therefore meaning that we are somehow Alien.
Fundamentally operating in ways that others, do not.
I believe that is true, in some ways.
But in the really important ways, I’ve been finding more and more- that people tend to like the same kind of feelings that I do. What makes each person feel those things, is super variable.
But I feel like we so frequently let our fears and our ideas that just because we like something, doesn’t mean someone else will- stop us, from telling people we come across why we think they’re awesome, for example.
I recently had a conversation on Twitter about compliments, and I’ve been thinking more about the topic.
And you know what? If I had to give someone advice on how to get better at receiving compliments- it would be to give more of them.
Maybe one of the difficulties, right now, with the ‘do unto others as you would have them do to you’ mentality – is that we tend to frame it as an admonishment. A way to avoid hurting others.
I don’t really know a better way to avoid hurting others, honestly. What I do know is that people still hurt people, all the time.
So having this phrase as part of our cultural handbook on how to be a successful human- hasn’t worked.
I propose we experiment with altering our framing of that concept.
From how to avoid harming others- to a guideline to follow in order to figure out how to treat others, better.
It’s scary, at first!
It takes courage, to begin stepping past our fears of even just being friendly with people we don’t know so well, or to give compliments when we admire something someone has said or done.
We fear they might get the wrong impression, or that we’ll come off as fawning.
My advice is this:
Be earnest. If you’re holding back on giving someone a compliment because you’re afraid they’ll take it the wrong way- tell them that, when you give the compliment.
I love it when people are earnest with me- which is another ‘do unto others’ thing.
If I like it when people are earnest with me, I thought maybe I’d experiment with seeing whether or not others seem to like it when I am earnest with them.
And I can tell you, earnestly-
they mostly really do.