Empathy is a day-to-day struggle of sorts, a test of our compassion and capacity for listening with understanding. It pushes us to break from the limits of our own stories, our own biases, and see someone in a different light.
As I’ve grown up though, Sam, I’ve realized that the Golden Rule doesn’t quite capture what’s become my guiding light: empathy. Think about the concept again. “As you would like to be treated,” is a bit presumptuous. It assumes that the way you want to be treated is preferred, that it trumps how someone else might want to be treated. What if you prefer brutal honesty to less direct communication? What if you prefer complete transparency about who you are and what you care about to keeping some things to yourself? What if you just want to be heard but aren’t looking for advice? This list could go on and on, made even longer by culture and context.