Restrain Yourself and Follow Social Norms
Restrain your words and deeds to comply with social norms. This term comes from The Analects. It is the fundamental method Confucius recommended for achieving benevolence. According to Confucius, social norms should be the standard for cultivating benevolence. Externally, your words and deeds should be subject to social norms, but more importantly, you should restrain your own selfish desires in order to see, listen, speak, and act within such norms. Once you can “restrain yourself and practice propriety,” you will have achieved benevolence.
Yan Yuan asked about benevolence. Confucius said, “To restrain yourself and practice propriety is benevolence. Once you can restrain yourself and practice propriety, everyone else will praise you for your benevolence. You must practice benevolence yourself; how can others practice it for you?” (The Analects)