Picture this, you’re at a football game and the guy in the audience is screaming foul ball every time the ball goes out of bounds. You and everyone else is looking at this guy like he has lost his ever lovin mind, right?
Do you not do this to people every day? Expect them to play by the rules that YOU were taught?
Let’s look at an example of how these rules look in everyday life.
You’re in the parking lot of a grocery store and you see that mom pointing at their child, frustrated. Her child seems to not be complying. Since everybody has their own set of rules, we could have a billion different reactions to the same situation.
• That's so terrible! Doesn't she know yelling at her kids causes psychological damage?
• That kid needs a spanking. How disrespectful!
• What did that child do to deserve that. They must have been "bad"
• They both look like they have had a long day and could use naps. As a matter of fact I need a nap, lol.
• That mom must be having a tough day, I remember when Jake had a meltdown in the store and I lost my temper.
• That so sad, so much pain in the world.
• My new favorite... Don’t hate meditate! Lol
I could go on and on… so who’s the most accurate? Well, it depends on who you ask! LOL!
We can also have different cultural rules. In Asia, is considered disrespectful if you don’t take your shoes off in the house. A friend who doesn’t know this rule doesn’t take their shoes off. They could spend their whole day seething mad thinking the worst of this person if they assume their friend knew the rule and chose to ignore it.
Weather the rules are cultural or familial, they all stories that the person made up based on their person experiences.
Every day you make up stories about the situations in which you have been involved. Do we ever know with 100% certainty that these stories are true? No!
Let’s be honest, when someone does something that you don’t agree with, your instinct many time is to go to the negative. After all, this is the rule that most people have learned. If they didn’t act the way I thought they should, they are doing something “wrong” Again, these stories are ALL made up, even if you talk to the person and gain some clarity, you will ultimately never know 100% because you are not them.
Lets look at 2 extremes to hit this point home. One empowering and one disempowering.
Lets say your friend doesn’t answer when you call…
- It’s been 5 hours, they should have called, They are ignoring me! (our rule the makes us suffer)
- They must be busy. They will call me later (the rule that bring us peace)
The reality is, we never know, with 100% certainty, that one is true. The cool thing is that we have the ability to choose!! We could make up that they are busy riding a unicorn, traveling in time, helping someone in need ect…
Take a moment to use your imagination and make up some funny stories for yourself! Why not?
As we get older, we often lose are imagination, but really we have plenty of opportunities to use it, everyday!
We live our lives expecting those around us to live by the same rules when everybody is playing different sports! Sounds kind of crazy doesn’t it?
Are your thoughts derived from your set of rules empowering or disempowering you?
I think we are all in the disempowering camp at some time or another, especially with those we are with all the time.
The good news is we can change our disempowering rules!
Like getting all the money in Monopoly from the middle of the board when you land on free parking, instead of the boring rules. This rule being changed makes the game more fun, right!
Well, it depends on who rolls the correct number on the dice!
And if you don’t know what I am talking about, that’s just wrong. LOL
This is no different than life though. Figuring out your rules and seeking to understand the rules of those you care about, will land on free parking!
To do this we must do 3 things…
- Be willing to figure out our rules
- Be willing to try to understand other peoples rules
- Take actions to change the rules that are not creating joy in our lives
During this process there will be many times you will roll the dice, and not get the number that lands you are free parking. Monopoly is a long game and sometimes you just want to throw the board across the room or give up and go to sleep because you are so tired. And sometimes you will need a break and finish the next morning. But… if you keep rolling, you are bound to land or free parking and you might even win the game all together by connecting with someone on a deeper level.
Since understanding those I interact with are playing by a different set of rules and created stories that are empowering, my life and relationships have become more joyful and more fulfilling. It is my hope that this new awareness will allow you to create more of whatever you desire for your life and relationships.