The Law of Reciprocity

The Law of Reciprocity is the Golden Rule. It is usually stated as: ‘Treat everyone as you like to be treated.’ However this is not quite right. Others have their own values and preferences that you may not share. They may not want to be treated the same. Therefore the Law of Reciprocity is better expressed as:

‘Treat everyone as they would like to be treated.’

Of course most people like to feel accepted, approved of, respected, listened to and appreciated. This is common to all.

Old couple


‘How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong; because someday in your life, you will have been all of these.’

 George Washington Carver

Compassion should be at the core of all our speech and action. Imagine what the world would be like if everybody were more compassionate? How many global problems could be solved?

When we show compassion to others, we benefit everyone including ourselves.  Studies show that when a person is a recipient of a kind act, serotonin (the neurotransmitter that promotes a good feeling in the brain) is stimulated and the immune system strengthened. The same is true for the person who acts kindly. Even observing an act of kindness has the same effect.

A few kind words cost nothing yet are worth so much to both recipient and giver.

We are all aware of what hurts and what heals. Think about what you say before you open your mouth. If you’re tempted to speak to someone unkindly, think about how you would feel if someone said that to you.

The Law of Reciprocity reminds us that we get back what we give out. Thoughts create effects which rebound, and so do words and actions. If you want more friends, be friendlier; if more love, be more loving; if more happiness, help others to be happy. Every time you meet another’s needs, you meet needs of your own and feel better about yourself.


©David Lawrence Preston, 7.12.2016

Facebook and Twitter

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter @David_L_Preston

365 Spirituality book

How to Books, 2007



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *