My eight year old is a classic rule follower.
This, of course, is a bit of a relief but I have noticed lately that she holds on to her set of rules quite tightly and is not prone to flexibility when it comes to them.
Ah, she is eight and this may grow and change but it got me thinking…
What ‘rules’ do you follow?
Are some of these ‘rules’ holding you back?
I know they are for me.
For example, one ‘rule’ I carry with me is that when you are an ‘adult’ life is hard and boring or even worse, you are full of shit.
Now, we can rationalize all of this to death, and know cognitively that it does not make sense or have to be true. But if something like this is ingrained in your mind, it can be challenging to set yourself free of it.
But it is good to notice and as well notice when others are following a completely different set of rules than you. I think it can be why human relations can be so difficult, we are often following different rules.
For example, I have a rule that one should be on time barring any kind of large natural disasters or tragedies. This is NOT a collective human rule as I learn ALL THE TIME. While it is something that bothers me, it doesn’t throw me into a tail spin but often has me shaking my head.
Another casual example is tipping. I worked in the restaurant business for seventeen years and I can tell you this, there are ALL kinds of rules about money and giving it to others. Some people tip, some people don’t. And it rarely has to do with the service you provide. This was fine with me as I was lucky to work in busy places, enjoyed giving good service, and knew it all came out in the wash. Big or small tips did not worry me much, but I often watched co-workers get completely bundled about a bad tip here and there. Their rules were being broken, whatever that particular ‘rule’ about money was.
So if you are having a hard time with someone (or many people) think about the rules. What rules are they following that are completely opposite from yours? This can be a huge source of conflict. And I am sorry to say, there is not much you can do about their rules.
BUT…what can you do about yours? Can you loosen your set of rules? Can you set your rules up so that they do not get continually broken (think boundary setting)?
And finally, what rules about life are you holding onto that are preventing you from moving forward? Sometimes our rules served us at another time in our lives but no longer do. Be open to letting them go, knowing that you will still be protected and safe.
I’d love to hear them!
Please tell me some rules you follow that hold you back or how you notice others rules and how that affects you.
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