We fail to follow the Golden Rule when we feel entitled to special treatment over others or when we feel entitled to ignore or hurt the feelings of other people. Even if we have a right or a legitimate demand for special treatment this does not mean we should exercise that right or demand it in every situation. There are times when it may be better for us to decline to exercise a right in order to be kind and loving towards our fellow Americans. We are all one society and we will rise or fall together.
Too often in the West we place the individual and individual rights above our community responsibilities and above our obligation to be kind and supportive of one another. This tendency in the West to place the demands of the individual above all else can sometimes promote a level of self-centeredness that is harmful to both the self and to society. A lifestyle of intentional kindness can help counteract this tendency toward self-centeredness.
We focus so much in this country on individual rights that we often fail to even acknowledge our obligations to one another as a community. The result is a certain amount of turning inward and self-focus beyond what is healthy for society. We can learn a lot from the East where an individual’s responsibility to their community is emphasized more.