“Don´t treat others the way you don´t want to be treated”.–embedded in every part of the world.
People get freaked out when they hear the word “karma”. They think about some deep religious meaning, that someone is going to try and make them a monk, that they will have to shave their head and grow a beard and meditate half day each day.
What they don´t realize is that karma is just a word for being nice.
“I´m going to tell you about karma.”
“I´m going to tell you about being good.”
are the same things, but will be received with different response. Whatever works for you then. I´m going to tell you about my perspective on karma. I´m going to tell you about my perspective on being good.
I was brought up by the motto “don´t treat others the way you don´t want to be treated”. (thanks mum! :)) This is deeply engraved in me and I live every day by it. Because of this, all my life, I avoided confrontation, fights, arguments either by seeking a more diplomatic solution or ignoring stuff. During some random teenage fights, I was always the one dragging people apart or talking them out of it. I don´t like to make other people feel bad, small, useless, powerless etc. I´m probably the best person you want to talk to if you´re on the other side of the phone in a call center, whether it´s taxes, banking or gym membership.
Because of this, I used to think that I´m too soft, that I chicken out of fights, that I should grow a pair of balls and enter pointless fights to prove something, don´t let people walk over me, don´t accept the first offer, push for more.
Now I think that´s bollocks. Maybe I won´t get the best deal if I don´t beat it out of that person, but is it really worth making someone feel miserable for it? That´s how today´s world works, it´s a race, if you don´t stomp on someone getting there, you will miss out. Really? I rather have / receive less “things” and know I made someone´s day better than the opposite. But in the long term, you might even achieve both, receiving more and making others feel good.
A good example of that was my recent stolen passport story. I emailed the Slovak embassy about getting a new one, maybe a few hours after it happened. Because of this, the tone of my email was a bit more harsh / critical than it should have been, without me realizing it, as I was still annoyed with the whole situation. Why was it critical? Because I know how slovak bureaucracy works and I was already anticipating issues with getting a replacement, so I addressed it in the email (one could say I was assertive).
The response I received was therefore very formal and not as helpful, giving me some standard responses and facts, not really going out of their way to help. I realized the tone of my email when I read it again later and apologised to the person straight away, explaining that I was just annoyed with the situation. Their approach has changed drastically. They answered all my questions, gave me some more suggestions on how this can be fixed and responded to my emails faster. And best of all, when it came to arranging a UPS collection & delivery, that would cost me around 70 GBP, the chap at the embassy offered to send it to me via recorded post, for free, which isn´t standard procedure. There you go, on top of a good feeling, it also pays to be nice 🙂
This situation happens a lot in life. Talking to someone in a bank, shop assistants, nurses, colleagues, friends, family. There´s always a situation where different approach results in different results and there´s a lot out there about standing up for yourself, being feisty, not letting people walk over you.
I say we´re not soldiers, we don`t need to grow thick skin to get through life. Do good and good will happen to you. Approach, receive, talk to people nicely and they will receive you nicely too. Of course not all of them will, but that´s maybe because the previous person they spoke to was a dickhead. Once they realize you´re not, they will change their tone. If they won´t, well, maybe they are one of the few grumpy ones that will stay like that all their life, no point letting them ruin your day. But I´m sure most of them just want to sort that specific thing you´re talking about in a good way, then move on without getting angry, sad, annoyed. This works in the so called harsh office environment. You´ll get further with a smile and friendly approach, than with cut-throat, bullish approach. Believe me, tested and proven.
“Anything that is done with negative energy will become contaminated by it and in time give rise to more pain, more unhappiness. Furthermore, any negative inner state is contagious: Unhappiness spreads more easily than a physical disease. Through the law of resonance, it triggers and feeds latent negativity in others, unless they are immune – that is, highly conscious. ” —Eckhart Tolle in The Power of Now
In terms of chickening out, growing some balls, I think it takes more balls to be nice, to walk away from a pointless fight or have a pointless argument over the phone with some poor chap in India, who can´t change anything about the way a certain company works. Men are meant to protect their honour, never back away from a fight. What is honour? Is it how other people perceive us? Whether we are bold and never back down in their eyes? That´s pretty insecure, needing to look good in other people´s eyes, needing their approval and letting someone punch a tooth or two out for that. I don`t care about that kind of honour, I prefer keeping all my teeth. I need the teeth all my life, that moment of pride of being in the fight will be forgotten in a very short while.
I´m going off a bit here, but you get the point. I don´t see the point in fights, wars, arguments, behind many of which is what we call honour or pride, which mostly boils down to trying not to look weak in other people’s eyes.
I´m not advocating being a complete pacifist either, there are situations one should protect his/her beliefs, but again, do it without aggression. And of course, I´m all for defending yourself in danger, in that situation, enjoy punching the aggressors teeth out. That´s basically karma getting back to him for his other bad deeds 🙂
That´s karma. And I didn´t mention anything religious or spiritual once. So don´t be scared of it, think about how would you feel in that person´s position and how much easier life would be if everyone thought like that. This doesn´t just apply to human interactions, but animals and nature too, take care of them as you would of yourself.
Oh and now to mention something religious – every religion I can think of has karma integrated in it´s core, no matter what origin, so whatever route you take to get there, religious or atheist, just be good ok? 🙂
….yep, this was all about the golden rule:
although I don´t think one needs to follow any of these religions to actually apply it in life, to be good. Just be it.
Hi Lukas. Have just found your website via Crazy Sexy Fun Traveler and I love this article.
I don’t believe in any religion, but I do believe in karma. I have lived in Sydney, Australia for about 3 years and just recently I came back to Slovakia. The difference in mindset and positivism is astonishing. People are so kind in Australia and positive energy and smile is almost everywhere, whether you walk into a local store or into a bank. On the other hand, it’s so different in Slovakia (as you know). I learned to smile a lot in Australia. It creates this good vibe when you smile at someone and they smile back at you. So when I came to Slovakia I smiled a lot, but people kept looking at me like I was a weirdo.
Unfortunately, I will have to leave Slovakia again, mostly because of this negative energy, which is really getting under my skin. I wish more people in our country would be aware of good karma and positive mindset.
Anyway, all the best to you and your travels Lukas!
Thanks for your comment, I´m glad you like my blog. I feel the same about Slovakia, it was a similar story when i returned home after 8 years in the UK, but I´m hopeful – people are just not used to that. The younger generation is better, it´s a slow change. Besides, we are a few years behind UK and Australia, so it´s going to happen eventually (people being nicer to each other) 🙂
All the best to you too!
Yeah, I really do believe that it will eventually change. Especially because of our young generation from which so many people have been overseas and seen different cultures and nicer people. It’s still a slow change though.