Is a SIX year old you running your life?
Many Negative Emotional States, as well as interpersonal conflict and misunderstanding can be better understood through looking at the ‘Rules’ we follow.
You become ANGRY when someone breaks one of your Rules… even if they are not aware of them.
(“They’ve crossed the line!” How could they know where the line is? or Think about that guy in the car in front who’s driving 5 below the speed limit. What rules might he be following?)
You feel GUILTY when You break the Rules… and You feel SHAME when you know other people know you’ve broken them.
(How did you know it was Wrong to do that? Who told you? Is the self chastisement really in proportion to the action?)
When we don’t know the Rules we PROCRASTINATE, or feel ANXIETY… so we either make up our own, or stop playing the game.
(“I’m not sure where to go, or what to do. And I don’t know who’ll be there, or if I’m going to be expected to speak to people … so I’m not going!” – sound familiar?)
When we follow the Rules but don’t get the results we expect, we become FRUSTRATED.
(“I’ve done everything! It’s just not working! – It must be me, I’m just not good enough!” – Who told you that would work anyway? How did they know? What other Rules were they applying?)
When other people share and comply with our Rules it helps build CONNECTION… when they ignore our rules or operate with a different set, it produces CONFLICT.
(Ever met someone and taken an instant dislike, or have a funny feeling about them. Mistrust? Sense something is off? Bad Vibes? Could it be you’re unconsciously noticing they play to a different rule book?)
How are the Rules affecting your life today?
Notice the next time you are ‘triggered’ by something, and have an Emotional reaction. Is it because someone has broken one of your rules? Do they even know your version of the rules?
Here’s something to consider: Changing your relationship with the rules, also changes your relationship with the negative emotions.
Which emotion do you want less of? What Rules have you created which create the boundary conditions for this
What could happen if you changed those rules and updated to some more effective ones?
And you do know that most of the rules you follow were adopted from your parents / elders / culture during early childhood, and are mostly established before the age of seven?
Which means that most people have a rule book written in crayon by a six year old!!
Imagine going through life following the demands, expectations and understanding of a six year old… Explains a few things doesn’t it.
Time to update your Rule Book?
Start questioning each Rule which creates a negative response.
Notice what triggers you. Where did that come from? How do you know that’s true? Is it still relevant? Is there a more skillful rule you could use?
Take the book away from the six year old you, and make it more suitable and effective for the life you’re living now, and for the life you want to live tomorrow.