Tag Archive: mistakes

Do Unto Yourself As You Would Do Unto Others

Even if you’re not religious, I’m sure that you recognize the wisdom of the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” I tend to have no trouble with this. My friends, many of whom work in social services and small businesses, don’t either. We work long hours for little pay, we reassure other people that their mistakes aren’t a big deal, and we’ll drop everything for a friend if she’s going through a tough time. It’s the reverse Golden Rule that is much more of a challenge: doing unto ourselves as we do unto others.

I can’t count how many times I’ve beaten myself up for little mistakes, or fallen into despair when I hit a snag in my plans. I’ve looked in the mirror and hated what I saw: the dark circles under my eyes, the big zit, or the belly fat that won’t go away. I’ve told myself that I’m incompetent, a screw-up, and that I’ve wasted my potential.

Can you imagine treating a friend that way? Ever? As Duncan Coppock said, “If we spoke to others the way we often speak to ourselves, we’d have no friends!”

When things go awry, we tell our friends, “Everything will turn out fine.” We remind them that they’re resourceful and smart and all-around wonderful people. We see the best in them. However, we find it much harder to show ourselves the same kindness.


Reschooling Reason #2: Be a Grown-Up with No Regrets

WitchesI have a confession to make: Like a fairy tale witch, I secretly long to steal the youth of innocent children. When I see kids running about, carefree and laughing, I don’t think, “How wonderful, to be young!” Instead, I’m wildly jealous. These kids don’t have any debt, or much emotional baggage; they’re able to enjoy whatever they’re doing at the moment without dwelling on what happened yesterday or what will happen five years from today. They speak and act freely without concern for what others will think. Their instincts are intact, and their futures are wide open.

We grown-ups, on the other hand, have often made choices that limited our options. We may have mismanaged our money, failed to reach our potential in our schooling or career, or had kids of our own before we’d had enough time to be kids ourselves. These choices may have made us less playful and imaginative, and more stymied and fearful.

I expect that I’d be less jealous of kids if I could have a completely fresh start, putting any limiting experiences behind me and reconnecting with the optimism and self-assurance that I had as a child. I would like to return to square one and begin again, living my life completely on my terms without regrets or complaints. If I succeed in doing this, maybe I’ll become content with the grown-up life I’ve chosen. At the least, I hope to avoid becoming Old Lady Dicker, the resentful hag who throws rocks at the children who pass by her rundown shack.

This post is part of the series “Why Reschool?”