The Golden Rule and compassion are closely connected concepts. The Golden Rule, which encourages treating others as you would like to be treated, inherently involves empathy and understanding the needs and feelings of others. Compassion, on the other hand, is the deep awareness of another's suffering and moving beyond distress to helping to alleviate it.
At the Charter for Compassion we are offering a new perspective on the Golden Rule and that is GoldenRuleism. It reads a little differently, but intends to clarify more deeply the intent of the Golden Rule. It reads:
Do for all others, both directly and indirectly, what you would want done for you. Don’t do to any others, either directly or indirectly, what you wouldn’t want done to you.
When we apply GoldenRuleism, we put ourselves in the shoes of others and consider how our actions or words might impact them. This empathetic perspective allows us to cultivate compassion. By treating others with kindness, respect, and fairness, we acknowledge their inherent worth and well-being.
Compassion is an essential element of the Golden Rule because it guides our actions beyond mere self-interest. It urges us to go beyond treating others as we wish to be treated and instead consider their unique circumstances, struggles, and needs. When we approach others with compassion, we extend understanding, support, and care, seeking to alleviate their suffering and enhance their well-being.
By practicing compassion alongside GoldenRuleism, we foster a more inclusive, empathetic, and interconnected society. It promotes a sense of shared humanity and encourages us to treat others not only as we would like to be treated but also as they deserve to be treated, with empathy, kindness, and a genuine concern for their welfare.