Blunt advice from Shakespeare
"Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none."
- William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare is arguably one of the best, if not the best playwright of all time. He has been quoted all over the world and authored some of the most iconic plays and poems throughout history. While I was searching for a great Shakespeare quote for today's post, I came across this brief and blunt advice from Shakespeare. "Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none." I love his advice for a number of reasons, the main one being it is full of compassion for others and ourselves. I'll break it down by each piece of advice.
This is something that artists have been preaching forever. My modern day interpretation of "Love all" is summed up by two of my favorite artists, The Beatles and Bob Marley. The Beatles told us, "All you need is love," and Bob Marley preached, "One Love. One heart. Let's get together and feel alright." I adopted this philosophy in my late 20's when I reconnected to my heart though deep reflection and meditation. Since then, I have made a commitment to come from a place of love when interacting with others. That does not necessarily mean I shower them with love, but I always have good intentions.
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Trust a few.
This may seem like counterintuitive advice to "Love all," but it is more about self preservation. While, in a perfect world, it would be great if we could trust everyone we interact with, we know that's not the case. The world is populated with people of bad faith. The cons. The cheats. The ill-intentioned. We cannot always tell who is looking to take advantage of us or our loved ones. This is why it's important to use good judgment and have others earn our trust in them. Just because we may be coming from a place of love does not mean we should allow ourselves to be taken advantage of by others. We must respect ourselves.
Do wrong to none.
This statement sort of pairs up with "Love all." If we are always coming from a place of love, there should be no intention to do wrong to anyone. It's merely one of the requirements to loving all. There my be times where we feel we have been wronged, so we're inclined to retaliate. I learned to take the high road. If someone wrongs me and I need to take legal action, I will do so. But I will not take the law into my own hands. If someone wants to hurt my feelings, that's up to them. I choose to live the Golden Rule instead. It has suited me well.
This is not very profound advice, even coming from Shakespeare. This is simple advice that Shakespeare believed in and lived by. I thought it stood out among all of his other amazing quotes for being so straightforward and simple. Love all. Trust a few. Do wrong to none. I believe Mr. Shakespeare truly said it best.
Healthline: What’s (Unconditional) Love Got to Do with It?
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Zen Habits: 18 Practical Tips for Living the Golden Rule