I’ve come to learn the rules don’t apply to me. The rules don’t have to apply to you either.
We are brought up with rules. We are told that we must act and speak in a certain way. Rules and social norms are communicated to us through our parents, our schools, our governments, our social circles, religion, academia and countless other conduits.
But rules are arbitrary. They fluctuate and change. Sometimes they apply, and sometimes they don’t.
Even when rules do apply, they often contradict one another.
Think about it. How many times have you caught yourself in a catch-22 in regards to “the rules?”
For example, your teacher may have a rule of “no talking in class.” However, the rule of of your friendship demands that you respond when spoken to.
Your boss may have a rule that you must get to work on time. However, when there’s a pile-up on the interstate, the law doesn’t allow you to drive on the shoulder of the road to circumvent the traffic.
It begs the questions: Who’s rules are you supposed to follow? Which ones are the most important? Rules of government, friendship, family, or institution?
Ultimately, everyone you meet will place some kind of rule on your behavior, but none of these rules is supreme. Ultimately, the rules don’t apply to me or you. Rules are arbitrary, contradictory and I would argue, largely unnecessary.
After all, I don’t need to be told not to murder my neighbor, or told not to neglect or beat my kids. I don’t avoid doing these things because the law or society tells me not to do these things.
For me, I avoid these kinds of activities, not because they are the “rules” but rather because I prefer to live in a reality where I get along with my neighbors and my children. I choose love over hate, not because my government tells me, but because that is what I prefer.
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At the end of the day, we all pick and choose which rules we will follow and which we will break. I might not put on my seatbelt, and I might speed on the highway every time I get on it. I might just sneak some food into the theater too. Perhaps there are even “worse” infractions I engage in on a regular basis (there are).
Oh well, I say. That’s my choice!
At the end of the day, I believe the only rules that matter are the ones that matter to you. We each ultimately make our own code of conduct.
Some may argue that when we break rules, we subject ourselves to punishment, and that may be true. However, it doesn’t have to be true-and often, it isn’t. If anything, punishment is the exception, not the “rule.”
After all, I break many rules and I come out just fine. After all, each one of us breaks laws daily without punishment.
Heck, even Donald Trump didn’t pay his taxes, and after admitting this freely on national television he wasn’t punished at all. Instead, he was made president!
Even further, there are so many rules and laws out there we don’t even know about. Just take a gander at Google’s or YouTube’s “terms of service” and you’re sure to find yourself legally in violation at least a few times.
If anyone decided to pick apart your life to find how to punish you, trust me, they could. It isn’t a question of whether you break the rules. All that matters is whether or not someone decides to punish you if you get caught. You’re breaking rules regardless of your intention to follow them.
I write this blog today just to share my thoughts on rules and how largely unimportant they are to me. I feel that the rules don’t apply to me, and I feel they only apply to you if you want them to.
I unconsciously break the rules I don’t know about, and I consciously break rules I don’t agree with. My rules are the only rules I care about.
Nobody else has the right to dictate how I live my life except me, and nobody has the right to dictate how you live except you. You only have to go with the herd if you want to, but ultimately your behavior is up to you. You always have freedom in choice.
So please, don’t worry about the rules someone else came up with unless the rules are germane to what you want out of life. Don’t worry about walking at the bell or trying to be what everyone else is demanding from you.
There are simply too many rules, and you’ll spend your entire life feeling like a bad person if it’s your intention to follow all of them. It’s an impossible task to please everyone, but it’s 100% possible to please yourself.
Choose the actions and behaviors that are right for YOU. Follow your intuition and navigate your life by your own code of conduct. It’s your life, after all, so you might as well govern it yourself.
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