Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.

"Do unto others as they would have you do unto them."  This is the formulation of the Golden Rule that I had to teach myself.  I had to teach myself this formulation because the traditional one didn't work for me.

The difficulty with me applying, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," is that  I was taking it too literally.  I really applied it as only doing to other people as I would want done to myself.  In other words, because it is what I would want, I left others alone to process, tried to remove any distractions, wouldn't encourage them to interact with other people...Basically, in applying the Golden Rule, I acted as if everyone else was also an Aspie.

I'm not sure when it finally sunk in that I needed to reformulate the Golden Rule in my own head in order to apply it correctly.  I needed to learn that not everyone wanted to be treated like I wanted to be treated.  This has really positively impacted my relationships with others.  Rather than trying to fulfill what my needs would be if I were in the other person's shoes, I now try to figure out what the other person's needs are.  To implement this, it took a lot more work.  I had to learn about other people and try to extrapolate from similar circumstances to find commonalities.  (And, yes, it is as complicated for me as I just made it sound.)  Just to be safe, I always ask, "Would you like me to...?" because I am never quite sure that I have interpreted circumstances correctly.

(I've also found that when I word the question like that instead of, "Is there something you would like me to do?", I tend to get more honest responses.  If I am wrong in guessing in the "Would you like me to...?" the other person is more likely to tell me what I can do to help than if I leave it up to them to tell me what they want.  I don't know if the proper formulation of the question is some sort of clue to the other person that I am serious about helping, but it seems to work.)

I shared my re-formulation of the Golden Rule at the Bible study I led last week with a brief explanation of why I did it.  To my surprise, several of the "neuro-typicals" who were there shared that formulation on their Facebook pages.  Maybe NTs need to think along these lines too?