Hello, my name is Shaina and I’ve been a chronic rule follower since a very young age.
I always did my homework, cleaned my room, studied hard for tests, never talked back to my parents, showed up on time, went to college and graduated cum laude. I wanted nothing more than to please my parents and teachers. If they told me to jump, I’d ask how high.
Into my twenties, I always viewed this quality as a positive one. I was looked at as a great student, golden child and in general, a young lady who had a good head on her shoulders.
But, when I took a step back from looking at myself through the lens of others, it was clear to me that I was not happy.
Where did all of this people pleasing get me? To appear as a shining star to others, but feeling trapped and unfulfilled myself?
(Now don’t get me wrong…I’m proud to say that I’m a respectful and responsible adult, thanks to my upbringing. However, when I refer to the “rules,” I’m referring to the beliefs that drove my decision making in shaping my future.)
Sometimes it’s much easier for us to just go along with the crowd and follow the path that our parents and teachers lay out for us.
But, with that, we lose our unique, creative control to steer our lives in the direction we really want to go.
The day I decided to start living my life on my own terms- to start thinking for myself– was the day things began to change for the better.
I learned that I did not have to experience the world or live my life according to how I was told to. This lesson saved me. And it continues to save me as I work toward my dreams.
My “rule follower self” is still very much inside of me, but because I’m conscious of it, I have the ability to tame it and not let it veer me off course- again.
Is it hard (and scary) to create your own rules- to do things your own way? Absolutely! But, it’s much harder (and scarier) to follow a path that doesn’t excite nor inspire you. I’ve traveled that path time and time again and what I know for sure is that it doesn’t get you very far.
If you want to live the life you’re meant to live and love, you must be willing to break free from the common trajectory and break through to the road that’s uniquely yours. TWEET THAT
At the end of the day, rules are just rules, many of which you’re probably unaware that you’re following. We’re “brainwashed” into thinking that these rules are set in stone, not to be broken or tampered with. Well, I’m here to tell you that they are! For the sake of your future and dreams unrealized, they really are!
Here are 5 easy steps to breaking the rules:
1. Identify the rules you’re currently following that cause you to feel limited or trapped. You must pinpoint these rules in order to start breaking them. For example, rules like, “I have to work at jobs I hate for a while” or “To be respected in this family, I must take over the family business.” What beliefs have driven you to a life that you’re not happy living?
2. Make the decision to change your “luck” once and for all. If you’re tired of tolerating a life you’re not proud to live, decide that right now is the time to take conscious control.
3. Create some new rules- some better feeling rules. Here are some of my favorites:
I don’t have to do what everybody else is doing.
My job is to stay true to what feels good to me.
It’s OK to go my own way.
My dreams are realized through my unique actions.
4. Believe in your new rules. Say them out loud. Write them down. Notice how you feel. Find evidence to prove them true.
5. Live by your new “bible” and take action. Use your newfound sense of empowerment and freedom to make necessary changes in your life.
Once you rewrite the script of your life, don’t expect people (with their ongoing opinions and judgments) to just go away. They will never completely go away. But, I can promise you that when you’re living a life that feels true to your soul, you won’t give a damn. The people pleaser will be behind you, while your bright future lies ahead.
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