You know the Golden Rule, right?
“Treat others as you’d like to be treated.”
This is solid life advice, especially for kids as we teach them not to hit, bite, snatch toys away, etc.
Basic, fundamental empathy algorithm.
As an adult, I actually aim to follow the Platinum Rule: “Treat others as they’d like to be treated.”
This little twist is a bit more sophisticated.
It acknowledges that we aren’t all the same, and that it’s even more attuned to treat someone in the ways that make THEM feel good.
For example, my client Andy likes it when I send him the links to whatever we’ve been working on right after the meeting.
He technically already has these links, so if it were ME, I wouldn’t want that extra email in my inbox.
But for HIM, not having to remember where the links are feels good.
And so I happily send them.
Now, I just this week learned of another permutation on the Golden Rule: Elur Nedlog.
This is “Golden Rule” spelled backwards.
Elur Nedlog says, “Never allow others (or yourself) to treat you in ways you would never treat someone else.”
It’s an acknowledgement that many of us are nicer to others than we are to ourselves.
Some of us also make excuses for inconsiderate (or downright bad) behavior in others that we’d never dream of condoning if we were the ones doing it.
I read about Elur Nedlog in life coach Martha Beck’s fantastic book, The Way of Integrity.
Here’s what she has to say about it (warning, this is about to get a bit extreme):
“I had one client, Josie, whose former boyfriend kidnapped her and chained her up in an abandoned house for days. ‘But he didn’t really mean any harm,’ Josie said, basting in a brew of white lies known as Stockholm Syndrome (a condition in which captives involuntarily develop an emotional connection to their captors). It was only when I asked Josie if she would ever chain up another person that she finally realized her ex had committed a serious crime.
“If someone in your life consistently hurts you, ask yourself if you would treat anyone else the way you’re letting yourself be treated. If the answer is no, then to stay in integrity you must start thinking of ways to change the situation. This may take courage, ingenuity, civil disobedience, and time. But to accept your own mistreatment is to participate in a lie.”
Let’s take in that last part again: “To accept your own mistreatment is to participate in a lie.”
Obviously Martha’s examples are big and extreme, and if you’re dealing with abusive relationship dynamics, I highly encourage you to get help.
But this can happen in so many smaller ways, too.
👉 Not giving yourself breaks between meetings but encouraging others to take them.
👉 Striving for economic justice while not charging enough to make ends meet for yourself.
👉 Staying in a job you hate because you have a story you have to.
Following the Elur Nedlog is actually a way of taking true responsibility for your life and experience.
It’s loving and kind.
It’s mature and wise.
It’s also potentially hard and scary.
Are you willing to practice it?
PS – I’m thinking of creating a new free resource for business owners and solopreneurs.
Which would be most useful to you?
- ✅ “Create a Magnetic LinkedIn Profile” Checklist
- 🤝 “Collect Effective Customer Testimonials” Toolkit
- 😻 Both please! I’d totally use them.
- ❌ Neither seems that interesting or relevant to me
This post was originally sent as an email to the Magic Words of the Week newsletter list. Every week, I share reflections on a word, quote, or phrase I think will help you thrive in your life’s work.