I originally wrote this in 2010, and shared it in 2013. However, it applies more to my life today than before… it has taken 7 years to sink in as a practice more than an ideal. I hope you can find some use for it in your own life, or even make your own.
Nothing is as simple as black or white, all or nothing. Shades of grey permeate every decision we make and paint a picture that goes by many titles: morality, ethics, life’s rules, religion, or law. My experience shows me that there are at least three sides to every conflict: yours, mine and the truth. My personal goal is to actively seek and honor each in all of my interactions with people. If you are a friend, you know that this is my highest priority, because I would have nothing without it. The downside is that a certain word that I want to avoid keeps creeping into this picture. That word is expectations. I’ve recently had a very special interaction with someone that has challenged me to define these for myself. Please note that these are written to my mind, by my heart, first, and are what I would like to impart to my son as guidelines for all of his relationships. If you are a close friend, you are already following these, and If you would like to borrow them, please do… I would be happy to share this as a specific goal with another.
My Golden Rules:
1. I expect that you will respect yourself enough to treat me the way you want to be treated. Since actions speak louder than words, that is the only way I’ll know for sure what your definitions of respect and gratitude are.
2. I expect that we will both do our best, and I expect that we will fail to do our best from time to time. When that is the case, I expect that we become bigger than our egos and work on the process of forgiveness and amends.
3. I expect you to pass on what you have learned in life when the opportunity presents itself. It was freely given and should be freely shared.
4. I expect that you will tell me when soemthing does not sit right with your spirit. Your integrity is much more precious to me than my ego.
5. I expect that we will be at different stages of our given journeys, and that neither of us has the right to judge the other for where they are at, but rather encourage and celebrate forward movment.
6. I expect you to practice compasion and empathy for as much pain and suffering you can see in others, so will yours be healed in yourself as you begin to realize that you are truly not alone (regardless of how you feel at times).
7. I give without expectation of return. I only ask that my gifts are never to be expected or taken lightly. They come from the heart with my understanding of you. This is how I view yours, and if I have fallen short in expressing what they mean to me, please let me know.
8. I thank you for being a friend, and see the golden halo around your heart and spirit, and I expect you to accept my gratitude when I express it and let me know if I am not expressing it or showing it.
The true Gold is found in the shades of grey that make us unique… I celebrate and honor this regardless of who you are in my life.