We all learn the Golden Rule in kindergarten: treat others how you want to be treated. Despite this, we find ourselves living in a time where people have become extremely desensitized to other human beings and the fact that EVERYONE has thoughts and feelings.

Whether this comes from a defense mechanism, selfishness, lack of caring or lack of realization of what you are doing is offensive and insensitive, we need to change this. We can start improving the world is by improving how we treat each other, so here are 10 steps to help you improve the way you treat others:

1) Learn to be more empathetic – Try to understand what others are dealing with and the motives behind their actions. One of the things people crave the most is to be understood by others.

2) Don’t belittle others – Don’t try to make yourself look better by making someone else look worse or pointing out their flaws or failures.

3) Do not look down on anyone – For example, if you label those in poverty as “lazy” or “unintelligent,” instead of looking down on them you should educate yourself on the causes of poverty and change your mindset.

4) Treat everyone and every situation with fairness – For this, it is important to understand the differences between equity and equality. Equality aims to treat everyone the same, however equity aims at giving everyone what they need to be successful because some people might need more or less than others for everyone to receive the same outcome in a situation.

5) Acknowledge the value of every person you meet – Every human has value and must be treated with respect, whether they are a cashier, server, professor, or your mom; they deserve respect and should not feel like they have to earn it.

6) Do not manipulate or deceive anyone for any reason, especially for your own self-gain – Do not lie or withhold the truth just to get something from them, especially if they get nothing in return. Also, do not pressure anyone into something they do not want to do or that is not in their best interest. Realize that everyone is entailed to their own opinion and it just might differ from your own and that is okay. Just because someone’s opinions, thoughts or beliefs are different does not mean they are wrong and it is rude and disrespectful to assume your views are right or that they make you a better person than others.

8) Think before you speak, type or post – This can be as simple as word choice used to describe a person. For example using words similar to “girl” or “chick” to describe a woman can be viewed as disrespectful and demeaning.

9) Do not comment on a person’s physical appearance – Even if you intend the comment as a compliment the receiver of the message may not take it this way, and may even find it offensive. Instead, it is much more meaningful to comment on something non-physical; it shows you truly know and appreciate this person. If you must compliment someone on his, her, or their appearance make it something that person has control over and reflects them as a person, like their outfit, the style of their hair, or their makeup.

10) Always acknowledge everyone as a whole person – NEVER treat another person as an object or a prize.

Now you can go out into the world and make your kindergarten teacher proud by how you treat others!