Empathy: The Platinum Rule vs The Golden Rule

​In a few days, I’ll be sharing my new book project, ​Empathy Every Day, ​with the world. I’ll be releasing the project on Kickstarter, and I can’t wait to share more with you!

Empathy has been on my mind a lot recently. Whether it is working with groups of teachers and school leaders, coaching my kids in sports, or having a quiet moment with the family in a restaurant (let’s be real, there aren’t many quiet moments in my house!) — empathy has come up again and again as a topic of conversation.

All four of my kids are different people. They have varying interests, needs, wants and personal ticks. They also have wildly different personalities. 

This can become a problem when we talk about The Golden Rule.

The Golden Rule is something we’ve all heard over and over again during our lives: Treat people as YOU would like to be treated. 

For my kids, telling them this rule has many 2nd order consequences. 

Each of them wants to be treated in different ways! One likes to be pushed and challenged, another likes to be reassured, and another doesn’t like any type of pressure. 

In many situations, The Golden Rule leads to arguments, disagreements, or misunderstood feelings. 

Lately, we’ve been talking more about The Platinum Rule: Treat people as THEY would like to be treated.

This is not necessarily easy.

It is more difficult to try and live by The Platinum Rule, then it is the Golden Rule.

I struggle so much more with being empathetic and trying to understand how others would like to be treated. It is much more comfortable to think about how I would like to be treated and follow that path. I can’t tell you how many times I mess this up.

Yet, empathy is the key here.

We are never going to be perfect when trying to follow The Platinum Rule, but we are going to be listening, learning, and acting based on other’s needs, not our own.

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