I was raised in a household where rules were a plenty.
There were many ways to do the wrong thing, often without knowing that this was a possibility in the first instance, meaning stepping out of line was a common situation.
And the wrath was swift and unforgiving.
Now, as I have got more experience under my belt, I realise two things.
- Too many rules make your life and mine, more difficult
- I am wary of people with too many rules.
What do I mean by rules?
They are the expectations we put on ourselves and others
around how we think they should be in the world.
How we ‘should’ behave, how we should speak and even as much as how we should appear. (I am sure we have all been on the receiving of the ‘you’re wearing that’ look or comment.
They often go unspoken – I mean it would be rather off putting if the first time we met someone they preceded anything by saying – now this is what I expect from you.
Although it would be a lot more honest.
The problem is, because they are shrouded in secrecy, we are set up to inevitably disappoint those around us as we go about breaking rules, we did not know existed in the first place.
Then tend to be associated with roles and they are usually stated with the word ‘should’ somewhere in the sentence. Mothers should….. Partners should…..Friends should…. You get the picture.
They tend to be based on very little other than how we were raised and our sense of right and wrong. Actually, they tend to be based on what helps us keep our sense of safety and security.
And the more we have the more of a challenge it is too live life without judgement of ourselves and those with whom we associate.
Don’t get me wrong. It is important to have expectations around how we would like people to treat us. I know of someone who lives by one rule – respect everything and everybody.
Her life is wonderfully simple because she doesn’t get uptight about people breaking rules that make no sense and those that do not show things and people respect, she exits from her life.
As I said – simple.
I am sure we have all experienced the mystifying, stony silence of someone when we have broken a rule, we did not know of in the first place.
The conversations that happens after wards are often baffling as we fail to understand how the crime we have unwittingly committed, could possibly have been so upsetting.
And it is often difficult to get someone to see that the way they view your place in the world is not the way you do.
So, to live a Middlicious mid life I think there are some things to think about when it comes to rules.
- Have as few as possible. I have been known to get uptight about the way the dishwasher is stacked. It is completely wasted energy and misses the gratitude around it being stacked by someone other than me.
- Have strong and clear personal boundaries. Know your bottom line and speak up when it is crossed. Just don’t make it all unreasonable
- Stop taking offence. Most of us are doing the best we can at any given time. Taking offence at every little thing sucks your energy and actually makes you really hard to be around.
- Accept people for who they are. If you know your friend is moody then get use to it or exit the relationship. Getting uptight because you cannot change someone to how you think they need to be, is pointless.
- Be really honest about what rules you put on yourself and others. I have taken people through a free writing exercise where I make a statement, such as Husbands should… and then they write uncensored until they have nothing left to write. Their shock when they read it is a lesson it itself.
I am not pious enough to say I do not put rules upon people.
However, I have certainly got more relaxed about what you need to do to feel good and a lot more defiant against what you need me to do.
And that is what Middlicious looks like.