By Dr. Anna Pecoraro, Psy.D., R.N., Integrity Counseling Services — In 2023, the world saw continued violence in Ukraine and a severe exacerbation of the chronic conflict in Israel. Considering peace in society is both mely and necessary.
The ‘Golden Rule’ is the idea that we are to treat others as we would like to be treated. The origin of the Golden Rule is in Judaism. In Leviticus 19:18, we read, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” The Golden Rule is a major tenet of Christianity. Christ proclaimed, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” during the Sermon on the Mount (Luke 6:31 and Matthew 7:12).
When we serve others and treat them as we would like to be treated, we feel good. We have inner peace. This is not a mere coincidence, since it has been said that the law of God is written on the human heart (2 Corinthians 3:3).
Many people who do not have the inner peace that they desire also focus excessively on themselves and past, painful events. Some people are locked in a vicious cycle of thinking about themselves and past events in a painful and unhelpful way. This is common and extremely understandable when people have experienced adverse circumstances and/or traumas in life.
When I work with people who are not experiencing the inner peace that they desire, I often advise them to decrease their self-focus by focusing on others and doing good things. Of course, in therapy, we work on changing unhelpful ways of thinking about oneself, others, relationships, the world, the future, and spirituality to more helpful ways of thinking. I advise people to treat others as they would like to be treated, make eﬀorts to serve others, and do every action out of love. Some examples of ways to serve others include beginning with one’s family and friends and expanding from this to serve the community as a volunteer. It is easy to ﬁnd places to volunteer through VolunteerMatch and the American Red Cross.
How is all of this related to peace in society? Society has many levels, and all of the levels inﬂuence each other. If we have peace in our local community, we are more likely to have peace at other levels of society. If many people are committed to living in love, following the Golden Rule, serving others, and advocating for peace, conﬂict is less likely. To quote the famous song, “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me!”