I had coffee with a dear friend this morning. I remember when I told her, years ago when I was first getting to know her, that I was a rule follower. “No one,” she replied, “no one, from just meeting you, from the outside, would ever know that.”
I probably don’t look like a rule follower. I know I don’t look like a rule follower. For that matter, I sincerely love not looking like a rule follower. There is a part of me that does know that many rules – at least society’s rules – are quite silly. And made to be broken.
And then there’s the part of me that wants to adhere to the rules and never f— anything up. Ever. That can be terrified of stepping outside of the box and letting someone down. That can be terrified of not meeting expectations and not going above and beyond to keep everyone else happy and everything safe. That can be terrified of being less than perfect (even though I do, by now, know that I am less than perfect and that everything is, by definition, less than perfect…but, again, it’s still deeply carved into me).
Those are old, old tapes in my brain, and at this point I’m often quite aware when they seep into my thoughts and color my outlook. When I’m not aware, I’ve smartly surrounded myself with friends and family who will point out the tapes when they insidiously creep in.
Which is why I applaud myself when I break the rules.
When I’m in yoga class, and the instructor gives us one cue and I go a different way (on purpose), I applaud that I’m following my body and needs rather than what I’ve been told I should do. When my rigid, “anorexic” thinking kicks in and I find myself coloring only between the lines and crossing all my t’s and dotting all my i’s and making sure everything is “right” to an obsessive degree, I applaud when I can instead take an action that’s a little risqué and “rule-breaking” …and see that I’m alright when I do. When I feel the pressure to do it all “right” and make it all “good” and to always be sweet…and instead I let myself be real – feeling what I feel, asking for what I want and need, stumbling and making mistakes and f—g things up, I applaud that I’m allowing myself to be authentic and human. Because it has been, at times, quite challenging for me to admit that I am human and to allow myself to be human. That is, somehow, breaking some foolish “rules” that I learned, or made up, years ago.
I applaud when I let myself do what I want to do rather than what I should do. I applaud when I don’t survey the situation and figure out the rules that I need to follow in order to keep everything okay. I applaud when I allow myself to be free and to play and to be and be real.
I do like breaking the rules in my head.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!