In my last blog I explored the values and principles that drive our thoughts and reactions. In this one, I want to look at those which drive our behaviour with others.
There is one principle that underlies everything else: treat others as you would wish to be treated. This gives us all a simple guide to our behaviour with others – we all know how we wish to be treated. Just applying this principle would put an end to unfairness, nastiness, disrespect, discrimination, injustice, because none of us wish to experience these behaviours from others.
There are four main values it implies. He first is fairness. This means giving others the opportunity to be the best they can be. It is often called a level playing field, and that means being able to start with the same advantages and disadvantages as everyone else. It also means, on a direct personal level, giving others the chance to explain, express their views, be heard.
Secondly there is respect. This means appreciating differences rather than criticising them. It also means what my parents called ‘manners’ – not being rude or dismissive.
Thirdly there is trustworthiness. This means doing what you’ve said you’ll do, keeping your word. It also implies keeping confidences and not being a gossip.
And finally there is compassion. This is when you bring your heart into the situation. It is offering kindness rather than judgement.
And all of these require that we communicate with others. This word means finding what we have that we share, by talking, listening and observing, our common humanity. We do that by real face-to-face conversations, not through texts or emails. Everyone has a story, and we enrich our world by hearing each other’s stories.
Al this is obvious, isn’t it? We almost all intend to live by these principles and values on a personal level. Yet this is not how our world seems to work.
It is time we translated all this into demands for a better world, one that would work for the majority, not just the few.
What does that mean? I have some suggestions – next blog…