I don’t make rules anymore.
So often we make them when they seemingly make sense, but then something changes and we feel like we should (I hate that word) stick to our rules even when they don’t feel right anymore.
So, I’ve given up on holding myself to my rules.
Now, I’m not talking about moral principles or values. Those I have and live by because they are an integral part of who I am.
But rules are somehow outside of myself, and often I create them to “control” something that I feel needs to be controlled. And often that need falls away.
And so many of our rules come from our limiting beliefs. We aren’t aware of it at the time we’re making them, but then later, if we really pay attention to how we feel, they don’t feel right. And if we ask our hearts what is right, the rules often fall away.
It’s really unfortunate that as children we’re taught that rules are more important than people’s feelings. We aren’t taught that being flexible and understanding is strong, but instead have this image of rule followers as the socially optimal person.
I remember in elementary school a teacher told me that the sun had to be yellow. I liked the sun to be orange, but she stood over me as I coloured and what did I do because she was making the “rules”? I coloured the sun yellow. But when I was at home, my sun was always orange.
People who tow the line and conform are portrayed as honourable and valuable members of society, and people who question the status quo or move outside of socially acceptable circles are labelled trouble makers or black sheep.
I have some experience with this because as I grew up my extended families labelled me a black sheep because I lived in the big bad city of Toronto, because I didn’t want to conform and because I had a mind of my own. A particularly unattractive thing for a girl to have. The fact that I was really bright only added to the division.
One day in my chemistry class in Grade 11, my teacher said, “The highest mark on the last test was 98%, and imagine it was a girl.”
There was dead silence.
And then I said, rather loudly, “What do you mean imagine it was a girl!?”
He spun around and said, “Ha! I knew you’d say something!”
Damn right! At least he was doing it to goad me. He actually wasn’t sexist at all. (Lucky for him or I would’ve made his classroom life hell.) I did very well in Grade 11 chemistry.
So often people shun what they don’t want to understand.
But because I was born thinking outside the box, I have a lot of trouble with people who expect other people to conform to their ideas of acceptable behaviour. I mean who are they to decide what’s okay and what isn’t as far as acceptable behaviour is concerned.
I have found that people who can’t accept difference are often extremely narrow minded and insecure within themselves. They cling to their “rules” of how life should be because they feel unhinged without them. They have no strong inner moral compass so they grab onto ideas that make them feel confident about themselves from the outside in.
And they often consider keeping up appearances extremely important as well.
How could the sun only be yellow? That’s one of the weirdest ideas I’ve ever heard, but to the teacher it was gospel. I was about 5 years old and I knew she was rigid and narrow minded even at that age.
People latch onto these ideas and often don’t question them. That is not me. So I’ve had my share of heated discussion and debates about all sorts of ideas.
I remember talking with the husband of a friend of mine who worked for The Star newspaper in Toronto. He actually believed that what was printed in the paper was the truth. I couldn’t believe it. I explained to him that each newspaper comes from a distinct political slant and that truth is in the eye of the beholder, or in this case the slant of the writer. He didn’t agree at all, no matter how much we jousted back and forth. He just wanted to believe that what was written down was the truth.
I suppose that’s an easier way to live in a way, if you’re comfortable with being misled and lied to. If you don’t really want to find out your own truth, that is.
I grew up with a bully for a mother so from a really young age I fought for my own self. I wasn’t a malleable child, I didn’t want to be mothered and I was smart enough to know the way things are aren’t the way they have to be.
It has taken me until midlife to truly get that I create my reality, and that I don’t have to fight for it, it’s already mine.
The fighting made me strong, but it’s not who I truly am. I’m a very kind, gentle person at heart and I don’t want to control anyone. I only fought because I had to to maintain my sense of inner freedom and self. It drove my mother crazy because I was unbreakable. And believe me she tried. That was until I grew taller than her and could’ve thumped her if I’d wanted to. Then, like a bully does, she backed down.
But all that fighting took something from me too. It took me farther and farther away from who I truly am.
As I’ve realized very recently, I face the world with love. But the bullying led me away from that. I couldn’t love my mother into stopping her abuse. I was only a child. I did what I had to, but now I don’t have to anymore.
And as I’ve come to feel, love is far stronger than hate, and so much easier to live by.
Now I attract kind, gentle people to me who are very much like myself. What a relief that is. I don’t always have to have my guard up. I don’t have to be constantly defensive. If someone treats me in a way I don’t want, I simply talk with them about it. Or let them go from my life.
And people who only want to follow rules aren’t the kind of people I can relate to. I let them be. But I find lots of open minded people everywhere. I guess I attract them now, along with people filled with love.
So, I have learned to let my rules go. Sometimes they still pop up now and then, but invariably they become obsolete.
And they always remind me that personal freedom is rooted in finding your own truth.
And truth has nothing to do with rules.