As the old year winds down and the new year approaches, this is one of my commitments to myself. I feel this is quite a lot, considering I don’t generally like rules. I am breaking my own standard to create a new rule, at least for myself.
The Golden Rule: Treat others how YOU want to be treated.
The Platinum Rule: Treat others how THEY want to be treated.
The Ruby Rule: Treat others BETTER than how you wish to be treated.
What is the Ruby Rule?
My mother told me time and again that life isn’t fair. It is– and it isn’t. It’s both? But the happiest I’ve ever been is when I find myself in upward spirals in my relationships.
The Ruby Rule is when you stop measuring what the other person does for you, but rather strive to do the most you can for that person. To demonstrate for them what you want the relationship to be, and how you want to be treated, by making the first step to do MORE than you would even want for yourself.
This isn’t about draining time and effort into a relationship sinkhole. But rather, that if you keep doing more and more for someone, they will step up; match you; and raise the stakes again. Like a very fulfilling game of poker where everyone wins. There is no tit for tat with the Ruby Rule. Instead it’s like a race to see who can do the most for the other.
The Ruby Rule means everything can get better, rather than stagnate, or grow worse.
Sometimes being in a relationship means being vulnerable and taking risk. I could never have dreamed how far my munchkins would go for me. But, at first, they mostly took. Because that’s what kids do.
Until the day they did more for me than I could ever have concieved to be possible. I’ve never even heard of a stepchild doing as much for a stepparent, as my munchkins have done for me. Without me even marrying their dad. With me just being who I am. As soon as they got the chance to truly step up, they did more for me than I could ever repay.
It’s a beautiful, precious relationship that I coud never have received if I only did as much for them as they did for me. Because, well, that made me happy “enough.” But it would never have pushed any of us to be as much as, it turns out, we could be.
Of course it’s risky, because there’s always the worry—
What if they never give back?
Sometimes- oftentimes- they don’t reciprocate. Ever. Sometimes you lose a little. But that’s how investment works. You invest in several projects– hoping that one comes through in spades. You expect that most will disappoint you, because the one success is enough to justify all the losses.
I have a few relationships that are worth everything in the world to me. I’ve only been able to make them beautiful, because of what I learned from all my failures. Like anything else in life. Only this means far more to me than any business venture or material investment. I’ve even had to let some go, because after a while they were too draining.
Maybe I have too high a risk tolerance. But people today tell me I’m the luckiest girl in the world and what I have is incredible. Maybe they’re right. If they are right, it’s because I took a chance on the Ruby Rule.
Can you do this for everyone?
No. And you shouldn’t try. It is okay to decide the only person you want to do that much for is yourself (so long as you realize that means the person who is going to do that much for you is you.) But if you want that kind of relatioship?
This is for those lifelong, every day relationships that are your foundation. This is how you gain those relationships. And as far as I can tell, it’s the only way I’ve ever known to work when it comes to lasting, primary relationships whether they be with your romantic other or your children or your chosen family (If you know another way, great, but don’t ask me, because I don’t know.)