When I was young I made long lists in my head of “When I am a parent…”. When I am a parent I will let my child practice the tightrope on the 12 foot pointed fence”. You can imagine what event prompted that one! While thankfully I did not let my 7 year old walk on a 12 foot fence, I did want my kids to have a sense of adventure which allowed me to be supportive of them going to the far reaches of the earth.
We all have events and situations that we internalize and form what I am going to call “rules” for how life should be. Sometimes we remember them and sometimes they are just inside and we act in ways we don’t understand. These rules can be great guideposts for us to navigate our lives. My husband has strong rules for fidelity and not only marriage and family, but an amazing marriage and family. I so appreciate this quality. Sometimes these rules do not work well in our adult lives. It is excruciating for me to confront others. This comes from a rule that I need to be the peaceful, loving, supporting friend. I like these qualities in myself , however sometimes in order to be that supporting person I need to stand up and say hard things that need saying. (In a loving, supporting way)
I asked my brother in law once if he wanted pancakes for breakfast. His reply was he was trying to not eat sugar (in the syrup), so no to the pancakes. There was no way of convincing him that he could put yogurt or peanut butter on the pancake. While not a real serious problem, this is an example of how these rules work. If we cannot examine them and make choices with them, they continue to dictate what we can and cannot do. The great news is that as adults we can look at these rules and decide if they are serving us in our present life – in which we want to make them more powerful, or not serving us and need to be tweaked. Very often we pick up rules in different situations that are in conflict with each other. This is often the case when we have trouble making a decision.
This will be a series of blogs addressing our rules and how we can choose the life we want to live. Not from an unconscious child lens and but a current reality, adult child lens.
If this sounds like a helpful action for you, there are 2 beginning steps.
1)Hit the follow button on the top of the page. This will have a note sent to your email when the next blog is posted.
2) Be aware of what you do and ask yourself what rules might that indicate. Some will be easy and some will be harder to figure out. Don’t judge them, just write them all down. Think about giving your self permission to choose what you will keep and what you might decide is not working for you.