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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Unkind & Self-Centered

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Here’s another distinction that may seem apparent at first.  Well, I wanted to deal with what may be a very controversial issue but didn’t have quite the right context (another book) in which to produce such a stance.  So this is as good as it gets.

I really like the Golden Rule, but think that it has a very big flaw (I know I may be being very controversial).  The Golden Rule, for those who need a little reminder, is doing unto others as you would have others do unto you [Matthew 7:120].  In other words, treat other people as you want them to treat you.

Kindness is doing something out of love for someone else.  If we like hugs, we should be kind and hug other people.  That’s the Golden Rule right?  Well, that may be kind, but it is also self-centered.  It is self-centered because it assumes that other people like to be hugged.  They may not.  In fact, they may really hate being hugged.  In some cultures, hugging the wrong person at the wrong time can actually be grounds for capital punishment!

To remove ourselves form self-centeredness, let us try to imagine what the other person wants.  What the other person wants may be completely contrary to what we may want.  They say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.  Well, that’s also true with wants, desires, goals, dreams, and so on.

It is easy to be kind and more difficult to be less self-centered.  We can learn to be less self-centered by trying to learn about the wants and needs of others.  For example, Dr. John Gray says that when women are upset they would like their men to talk to them and console them (as a generalization).  He also says that when men are upset, they want their significant other to literally leave them alone.  Those are complete opposite desires for men and women.  We can be kind all day long thinking that we are giving our spouse what we would want but we would actually be hurting them.

Self-centeredness is about being selfish.  Being self-centered is an honest, natural, common and many times a subconscious perspective we all fall pray to.  The good news is that a little knowledge, like in the previous example, can go a long way.  The previous example deals simply with gender, dividing our population in half.  Each individual has specific wants and needs, and learning to do what other people want you to do, not what you want to do for them, is the foundation of a greater self.

Anne Frank said “Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.”  I always believed that too yet wondered why I was treated so harshly at times.  Now I know.  Unfortunately, we live in a vast and complex civilization where having a good heart isn’t always enough.  Combining a good heart (kindness) with an open-mind (not being self-centered) is the seed for a happy society.

Let's love the world together...

Danish Ahmed, blind visionary

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