We are conditioned to follow rules: family rules, school rules, rules at work, homeowner rules, community rules, rules of the road, . . . yup, there a lots and lots of rules out there.
But what about the rules within? These are our GUIDING RULES. They become our beliefs. They guide our behavior, our actions, they create our path.
Our guiding rules are worth considering and reflecting on as we may be unconsciously following rules and beliefs that are the beliefs of someone else: parents, friends, community members, the society at large.
One clue that you are following someone elses rules is when you say to yourself, "I should do this" or "I should do that." Remember the word SHOULD and pay attention to how often it enters and lingers in your mind. A second clue is a feeling. To me, it feels like static when I act or react in a manner not aligned with what I believe and who I am. Static can feel like: dis-ease, a knot in your stomach, a headache, tension somewhere in your body (almost always the same spot - shoulders, thighs, forehead). Sometimes people describe static to me as a voice shouting, "what are you doing?!"
Start with some of the simple ones that go way back like: "Eat everything on your plate." We all know why parents say this in a valiant attempt to get something of nutritional value into their youngster's system. Now let's say you're 30. You're busy and often eat out, going to countless restaurants that routinely give you huge, make that obscene amounts of food. Despite clearly seeing three portions sitting on one plate, despite knowing that something called a "to go box" exists, you obediently go about eating everything on the plate. This is a simple example of a guiding rule at work. So the question is - does that rule support or defeat your conscious goals?
These unwritten rules can be much trickier, but once you put your attention to why you are behaving a certain way, you will discover there are many more rules lingering below the surface of your conscious mind. Some are ok, even helpful, but many are not. "Don't speak your mind, you're not smart enough", "That dream is foolish", "Just be quiet and behave", "Woman can't handle money", "Someone who looks like that is not worth knowing" and so on (there are thousands).
When you discover one of these guiding rules at work and it clearly does not feel right - STOP and write a NEW RULE. You are the adult now and your guiding rules can be ones that reflect who you are. Being who you are honors who influenced you are a child. It is not disrespectful to be true to yourself. We will always have rules that must be followed. Be sure that the ones that you carried from your first few decades actually line up with who you are now and what you value. Rewrite the ones that don't.
A coach can help you uncover unwanted rules: http://www.facebook.com/CoachWSolutions