We are all pretty familiar with “The Golden Rule” which essentially means that if we are following it we will “Do unto others as we would have them to unto us.”  This is a Universal principle that is included in many religions and spiritual practices.  Culturally, we have come to accept this as just part of being a good human. 

But what about the Platinum Rule?  This one has a wider spectrum of interpretation, but the one that most resonates with me is this: “Do unto myself as I would do unto others.”

It may sound counter intuitive.  If you are one who gets to use the bathroom when you need to, or sleep when you are tired, or eat when you are hungry or at the very least makes sure your own needs are met before thinking about the needs of others, congrats!  I realize this may be the default state of many people.

But I have spent most of my life thinking about how the people around me feel.  I was born empathic, worried about the kids who were bullied in school, sad that I could afford braces when my classmates couldn’t, or join ski club because my parents had enough money to pay for it, while others scrounged for a jacket warm enough to walk to the bus stop.

To complicate matters, I have been Blessed with children whose needs have been astronomical and unlike anything I could have imagined, or had ever witnessed anywhere outside of my own family.  So I already had a heavy heart, and becoming a mom made it so heavy I sometimes needed a trailer behind me to carry it with me.

Enter the Golden and Platinum rules.  If your natural state is to take care of home first, then look around to see who else needs help, then the Golden rule is something to keep ready at hand.  It is a reminder that the world does not revolve around you, that your needs are not at the center of the Universe, that you are no more, or less important or special than anyone walking the planet.

But if you are more like I am, and your natural state is to take care of everyone around you and fail to identify, let alone work to meet, your own personal and individual needs, then you might find the Platinum rule is one you need to post up in your office, on your auto dashboard or bathroom mirror.  If you are more like I am (or used to be) and you find yourself last on your own list, or not there at all, then this post (and this rule) is for you.

Do unto yourself, as you would have done to others.”  The Universe can, once in a while revolve around us.  Our needs are allowed to be here, and sometimes they are even allowed to be the center of the world.  We are no less important, or special that anyone walking the planet.  But we are at least important and special enough, to be on our own lists, and perhaps at the top of it.

Learning to prioritize self-care is no joke.  Without it, we can’t show up fully.  Yet from a very young age, and especially for women, martyrdom as a personal trait is given far more value than considering our own needs.  We are taught, that the more tired, spent, thin, busy, and concerned with meeting the needs of others we can be, the higher our place in the food chain of importance.

Not only is this not sustainable, but the cost of putting others first is not quantifiable.  How much of our own goodness, creativity, individuality and unique contribution does the world miss out on because we are busy cheerleading for the goals of others to be accomplished?

In a perfect world, we would probably do both:  Treat ourselves, and others, as we wish to be treated, and treat others.  But most of us lean in one direction or the other.  We may never find a perfect balance.  However, I find comfort in the Plantinum rule, and the knowing that I am as worthy of care as anyone else.  Spending time identifying my needs and going about the business of meeting them is as important as anything I do for anyone else.  Maybe even a little more so. 

If you tend to fall into the “take care of others first” bucket, try a simple experiment:  Choose one basic function that you will commit to never putting off again.  An easy start might just be making sure you never delay going to the bathroom when you need to.  It sounds basic, and perhaps ridiculously obvious, but as a recovering “take care of others first” person, I promise this is a solid first step toward allowing ourselves to do what is needed for us first, before trying to show up for others.

If you have any silly stories to share about choosing your own needs first, please post them in the comments!

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