Wise people have known for thousands of years that the secret formula for harmony is the Golden Rule: Treat others the way you would like to be treated if you were in their situation. You may think you know what this means, but may not fully understand it. The message is radical, and it is contrary to human nature, which is to treat others the way they treat you. When others are nice to you, you feel like being nice back to them. When they are mean to you, you feel like being mean back to them. However, if you treat others the way they treat you, you are putting them in control of you. Their behavior determines your behavior.
The Golden Rule puts you in control. It means you should be nice to people even when they are mean to you. Before long, they will be nice to you because they are programmed to treat you the way you treat them. In short, when you respond to hostility with hostility, hostility escalates. When you respond with kindness, hostility disappears.
The following are some practical guidelines for operating by the Golden Rule.