For as long as I can remember, I’ve lived by a set of internal rules. As I grew older and entered adolescence, these rules became more and more rigid, requiring me to jump through all sorts of hoops in order to be ‘good enough.’
Be polite. Make good grades. Make people laugh. Be pretty. Exercise. Eat healthy. Don’t make mistakes.
Essentially: Be perfect.
It worked out well for me at first — as long as I could put a check by each of my ‘to-dos’ each day, I was okay. I felt good about myself and all seemed right with the world. But the minute I deviated from one of my rules — all hell would break loose. I’d get anxious and upset and I couldn’t think about anything else until I put things right. With such a rigid and lengthy list, my days quickly became consumed by my need to cross things off. Life faded into the background and soon nothing else mattered.
The funny thing is, I hate authority. I rebel against rules imposed on me by the outside, yet I had created the most overbearing rules imaginable for myself. I was driving myself crazy. Something had to change. The rules had to go.
Ha! If only it were so easy, right? My life was built around these rules. They’ve been my truth for twenty something years. I mean, try telling a bunch of football players that the point of their game was no longer to score a touchdown on a field by running and passing, but to gently roll an egg across a parking lot with their tongues without it breaking. Mmmhmmm. Now attach a lot of deeply held beliefs into the whole mix, and you begin to see the challenge I faced. STILL face — To be clear, this story is not finished. I have torn a few pages out of the rulebook, but the book is still very much alive. Part of the challenge, I think, is that initially I tried to change the rules, when really I just need to get rid of the idea of rules altogether. NO RULES. NONE. Life, fortunately, does not have a rulebook. We are each allowed to sculpt our lives however we choose. How wonderful is that?!
So join me. Let’s not waste time creating rules where none are needed. “Break” a few of your own rules today. Better yet, toss them in the trash, and LIVE.