Thursday, October 23, 2014

COMMENTARY: "Life Rules"

Everyone needs a good set of rules.  Sometimes one rule will do.  Sometimes three is enough.  Sometimes you just need one more.  

There are all kinds of rules in life.  Rules set by society, by religion, by parents or by other authority figures.  Or we set rules for ourselves.  Rules to help us succeed.  Rules to help us survive.  Rules to guide us through difficult times.  Rules to protect us from ourselves…or protect us from others. 

Some people follow the rules.  And some people bend and break them.  Some people ignore them altogether and live as if there are no rules in the first place. 

Me?  I am a rule follower.  Although I may have bent a rule or two in my day, breaking rules has not been a habit of mine.  I’m generally of the opinion that if everyone just followed the rules, the world would be a better place (although, I suppose, it does depend on who makes the rules).  

Most of the time, I find it perfectly acceptable for someone else to make a rule and then I’ll follow it.  It’s not that I don’t like to think for myself; but, rather, that I prefer to have a structured list of what is expected of me so that I know how to judge whether or not I have been successful.  If no one else tells me what I ought to do, I create my own internal list of expectations and use that to determine the quality of my achievement.  I believe many of us create such “life rules”.  

Some “life rules” are easy:  “Compliment one person every day.”  “Always say please and thank you.”  “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.”

Others are tougher:  “Forgive.”  “Apologize.”  “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

And some rules are so nebulous that I can’t even begin to wrap my head around them:  “Be happy.”  “Don’t hold everything inside.”  “Allow yourself to feel.”  

Without rules, life is chaos.  Sometimes you just need one more rule, a guidepost, a line you know you won’t cross, a promise to be a better person for those who love you.   

Because without such “life rules”, all we are doing is just surviving each day with no way of knowing if what we are doing means anything at all. 

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