Yeah, I know it sounds like I’m doing a poker lesson today. Trust me when I say, I’m so not the girl for that. Blackjack, maybe. Poker? Never.
No, instead I want to talk about rules. How we create them and let them govern our lives–most of the time without ever realizing they’re there.
Some rules life teaches us right off the bat, and are easy to follow/understand:
- Don’t touch a hot stove.
- Don’t fall if you can avoid it.
- Eat dessert first.
Oh, wait. That last one might be specific to me. I digress…
But there are other rules that sneak into our playbook without our realizing it. Invisible edicts that skew the way we approach our lives.
Some of them are tiny. Just this morning I watched my kiddos line up to get on the bus, a foot-wide puddle between them and the school bus door. There was plenty of room to walk over it, and most of the kids did just that.
All of them except my six year-old.
She stomped right in the middle of that bad boy with an ear to ear grin, and then climbed on board the big yellow limousine.
Now, you and I, we know why you don’t stomp in puddles. Either a) you get your feet wet or b) you track in a bunch of water to the car/house. But stomping in puddles is FUN! You could see just how fun it was by the happy, careless abandon on her face. She hasn’t been tainted by cold, wet socks or dirty floors yet.
The same thing goes for rain. Yes, when we ladies have our hair all done, or are sporting a nice silk shirt, and it rains, the last thing we want to do is meander beneath the raindrops. But what about when it’s a rainy Saturday morning and we’ve got nothing better on than bed head and sweats? Why do we still run through the rain? Why not stroll and really experience the raindrops on our face?
Then there are the bigger rules. The really sneaky ones.
I was talking with a life coach I had a few years back about a particularly trick situation I had at work. (Still have that tricky situation, by the way.) Namely, why do I put so much freakin’ pressure on myself to do the work of at least two people, when other people are content to just do the work of one?
“My husband says I should be content to just do what’s expected of me like everyone else,” I told my guy. “I know he’s right, but I keep taking on more.”
My coach looked at me with that deep, meaningful gaze he always managed to conjure up at just the right moment. (You know…the one that made it ok for me to shell out exorbitant hourly fees.) “Probably because, somewhere in your life, you created a rule that said you needed to take on more.”
The second the words were out of his mouth, I flashed back to sometime around seventh grade when I brought home my first C. My dad sat me down, eased back in his recliner, and said, “Rhenna, you’re more than an average child.”
And here I am, forty-six years old, and still trying to ratchet my need to be more than average back.
Do you have rules like this in your life? Are they small? Big? Are you even aware they exist? Are there any you want to change? Any you want to institute?