I hope you had a great bank holiday weekend! I know I certainly did! I had the privilege of taking part in the womens mini marathon on Monday and I had an absolute ball! (I wasn’t able to walk afterwards and every muscle in my body was aching but it still felt great!)
It reminded me of an experience a few years ago that I wanted to share with you! I hope you enjoy this weeks issue of Progress, that can relate to it and that it makes you smile!
What are your Personal Rules?
Our experience of reality has nothing to do with reality, but is interpreted through the controlling force of our beliefs; specifically, the rules we have about what has to happen for us to feel a particular way.
What needs to happen for you to feel good? Does someone need to appreciate you and tell you that they respect you? Do you need to have a certain amount of money in the bank? Do you need to have achieved all your goals? Do you need to feel like your day was productive? Do you have to go to the gym or exercise at least 3 times a week?
The truth is that nothing needs to happen for you to feel good. You don’t need recognition, respect, money, ideal weight to feel good. You could feel good right now for no reason whatsoever! Think about it……. Achieving everything you set out to achieve in your day doesn’t give you any pleasure. It’s your rule or belief that says ‘When I hit this mark, then I’ll give myself permission to feel good’. In that moment, you decide to feel good.
We all have different rules and standards that govern not only the way we feel about things that happen in our lives but how we’ll behave and respond in a given situation. Ultimately, what we do and who we become is dependent on the direction that our values (the things that are most important to us in life) have taken us. But equally or even more importantly, what will determine our emotions and behaviours is our beliefs and our personal rules. Our personal rules are the ultimate judge and jury.
They determine whether or not a certain value is met, whether we’ll feel good or bad and whether we’ll give ourselves a hard time or self praise and appreciation. If I were to ask you ‘Are you successful?’ your response would be based on whether you think you meet a certain set of criteria that you believe constitutes being successful.
You might say ‘Yes, I am successful’ and I could discover your rules by asking you ‘how do you know you’re successful? Or ‘What needs to happen in order for you to feel successful?’ You might say because I wake up in great form every day or because I have good relationships or because I’m financially free or because I’ve found my passion in life or because I like myself!
On the other hand, some people don’t feel that they’re successful. Is this because they aren’t successful or is it because their personal rules are quite intense and harsh? This is important to think about it as a lot of people who we would consider to be successful don’t feel it themselves because their rules about success don’t allow them to feel it.
I lived like this for so long! I did the mini marathon a few years ago and even though I completed it, I gave myself a hard time becuase I ‘should’ have done better. My rule was that in order for me to feel successful doing the womens mini marathon, I had to complete it in X minutes. When I failed to reach that mark, I failed. I didn’t allow myself to feel good or proud of myself. This was a pattern for me in many areas of life, I would set difficult targets for myself and quite often fail to reach them. (Example: My daily to -do list probably would take 3-4 days to actually complete, ensuring that every day I was setting myself to fail!!)
This would lead to feeling not good enough, giving myself a hard time and I know that on many occasions when I would have the opportunity to do something nice for myself, I would say no because I didn’t feel like I deserved it. I hadn’t earned it based on the harsh criteria I was applying to myself. Needless to say, I was quite miserable!
This predicament of not feeling the emotions we deserve is not limited to success. Most of us have rules that are just as harsh for feeling like we have made a difference, security, intelligence and just about everything else. Everything in our lives from work to play is presided over by the judge and jury of your rules.
Most of us have created numerous ways to feel bad and only a few ways to feel good. I’m always amazed at the overwhelmingly number of women whose rules wire them to feel shitty! (I thought it was just me!)
You could be winning and feel like you’re losing because the scorecard you are using is completely unfair!! You probably have a system of rules that causes you to feel not good enough, anxious, angry, hurt or unsuccessful or you have no clear rules for knowing when you’re happy, healthy, worthy and so on!
A lot of it has to do with cultural conditioning. Many of us are afraid that if we don’t have very intense rules, then we won’t be driven to succeed; we won’t be motivated to work hard and achieve. But the truth is that we don’t have to have ridiculously difficult rules in order to keep our drive! If a person makes their rules too intense or too painful then pretty soon they will discover that no matter what they do, they can’t win and they begin to experience what is called learned helplessness. This is not a great place to be in, trust me, I’ve been there and have a few t-shirts!
You can take back control though, awareness is always the first step! Once you acknowledge what you’re doing, you give yourself the power to change it! So raise your awareness, take the first step and ask yourself ‘What needs to happen for me to feel happy?’
Drop me a line and let me know what rules surprised you!
With Love and Respect,
Until next week,