I haven’t met a person yet that doesn’t have a set of rules they live by in life. What do I mean by rules? We all have different rules and standards that determine how we feel about things and how we behave or respond in any given situation.
In other words, it’s your beliefs about what is good or bad, right or wrong, okay or not okay,or even what you should or shouldn’t have, be or do, that become your rules by which you live your life.
Now, this is all well and good while your rules help you to live a happy, healthy, wealthy and productive life. But the moment that they get in the way of you living your dreams, or taking risks to help you grow as a person and live your full potential, then they need to be broken.
When I first came across this knowledge I have to admit I got super excited. It had never dawned on me that I had been living by self-imposed rules which may have been holding me back in life but as I thought more about it I started to see some patterns in my behavior that suggested otherwise.
Look at it this way, your personal rules about life are like the ultimate judge and jury that govern how you think, feel and behave at any given moment. For example, if I were to ask you, “Do you love yourself?”, how would you respond to it? Your response would be based upon your rules of what’s required for you to be happy with who you are.
Now, this is just one example of hundreds, if not thousands of rules that we carry around with us that control how we feel and how we respond every moment you are alive.
Breaking The Rules
Think about the different areas of your life that your rules impact and what that might mean to you. From the way you view yourself and what is possible for you to be, do or have in the world, through to how you give and receive love, how rich or poor you are, how fit or unfit you are, how happy or miserable you are, how productive or complacent you are, how relaxed or stress you are, how much confidence or fear you have.
These areas, and many more like them are determined by the rules you live by inside your head and your emotions. The question that needs to be asked is, “Are your rules giving you a life of more of what you really want, or are they holding you back?”
For example, do you have rules about what you should or shouldn’t say to people for fear of retaliation or not being accepted? If you do, then this rule will be controlling your relationships in a negative way. It will enable others to think that they can easily manipulate you to their way of thinking or acting.
This is a recipe for disaster because what that means for you is that you will end up resenting anyone who tries to control you and not really know why. This can not only cause you to shut down in relationships but also cause your relationships to feel stifling and ultimately like your caged in a prison.
The key with any rule is to firstly identify those rules that are causing you to stay limited, or stuck in frustration or pain.on some level. Once, you have identified it, then it is time to decide what rule you want to put in it’s place.
Like anything in life that’s not working for you, as soon as you become aware of what it is you can change it. In the case of the example where the rule is that you have a limit around what you say to people for fear of being judged, then you need to break that rule and make a new one.
How To Make New Rules
Making new rules is a two step process. The first step is to think about what you want your new rule to be. The new rule must be something that is achievable and that makes it easy for you to feel good about yourself.
An example of a new rule for expressing yourself assertively in relationships would be, “I choose to feel confident and powerful when I express myself openly and honestly to others.” Or, “I experience courage anytime I express vulnerability, or allow myself to do and say what is true for me.”
Are these new rules achievable? You bet! Who’s in control? You are! At any moment in time, you can decide to be more confident or courageous when expressing yourself, and you now have permission to give yourself the feeling of power and courage.
The second step is to reinforce the new rule by practicing it with those that you feel safe to rehearse it with. This may be with a close friend, or a family member, or anyone at all that is happy to help you strengthen your new rule. At first it will be like you are role-playing, but eventually what you’ll find is that the more you ‘rehearse’ it, the more ingrained it will become in your mind and emotions.
If you don’t feel confident enough to work with someone else on it, then work on it yourself. The best way to do that is to rehearse it in your mind for five minutes before you get out of bed in the morning and for five minutes just before you fall asleep at night. If you can allow yourself to feel the powerful positive emotions that come with your new rule as you rehearse it in your head.
The great thing about setting up new rules in your life is that they will always bring you closer to what you value most. If they don’t, then you haven’t set them up properly. It’s very much like giving yourself permission to shine brighter in your life and break free from those rules that were crushing your spirit.
Are all rules made to be broken? Not necessarily. There are some rules that are set that belong to your personal standards and by breaking them you don’t feel good about yourself. These should be left alone.
Some people simply have too many rules that they live by. I’ve found that the less rules you have about how things “should” be or “must” be, the less frustration and pain you will have in your life.
Making Fun of Rules
Make sure to take the time to have fun when breaking old rules and making new ones. It’s the fastest way I know to build a new life and become the person you always wanted to be.
To help accelerate any new rules you may want to have, make a list of the top ten rules you can think of that are holding you back from a happy, healthy, relaxed, prosperous and productive life. It doesn’t matter if you can’t come up with ten, even one will do, but see how many you can find.
To help with this process, look at the main rules that govern things like love in your life, happiness, having fun, handling stress and what needs to happen for you to feel confident about who you are no matter what’s going on.
Then, against each of those rules, write out your new ones. Your new rules need to give you more control of your life so that YOU determine how you feel in response to what happens around you. Set it up so that it’s really easy for you to feel good about yourself.
Then pick one of the new rules you’ve written down that you’d like to start with and start living it. Don’t forget to practice it with your “breaking free” buddy until you feel a little more confident with it.
If it’s something that can’t be easily practiced with someone you know, then just start applying it immediately in your life. Focus on the positive feelings that you will get from it and how much more empowered your life will be. You have nothing to lose except old rules that don’t serve you, and everything to gain. Otherwise, work on it internally each morning and night.
Always keep in mind that that you are in charge of your rules. All you need to do is acknowledge the old rule and then create whatever new rule you want to have replace it. Breaking free from rules can be as easy as doing something different than you’ve ever done before just to see what happens.
You might have a rule that you only eat chocolate ice-cream. So, next time you get an ice-cream, try a flavor you’ve never had before. At the very least you’ll have a new experience and at the most you’ll discover another ice-cream you love.
Play with your rules, have fun creating new ones and without a doubt the most empowering rule you can have is to love your life regardless of what happens.