Are Old Rules Getting in the way of Your Freedom?

by | May 24, 2021 | Observations, Peter's Voice

This weekend, as I was sitting in the backyard relaxing after a busy day, I looked up into the sky and saw birds flying around.

I started thinking about freedom and what it means.

For me, freedom means the ability to think, say, and do what I choose.

Society places some limits on things. For example, you can’t take what you want (it’s called stealing), and in some areas, you can’t construct a new house without getting permits.

Many of the limits to our freedom come, not from laws and regulations, but from unwritten rules by which we choose to abide.

Some of the rules we set up with or because of our friends and family. For example, you can’t talk about such and such to so and so.

And there are even more rules that we create for ourselves. For example, I can’t be the first one to apologize, or I’ll have dessert only after I finish my meal.

If we are parents, we may pass them on to our children (knowingly or not).

All of these rules box us in. They limit our options and in some cases, predetermine how our day will go. The tricky thing about these rules is that we often don’t see them. They are already so much a part of our lives, it’s hard to see them as separate from who we are and what we are supposed to do.

I don’t want to break any laws, and I want to keep peace in the family, but how can I let go of the rules I set for myself? How do I realize when I’m limiting myself?

As I looked up at the birds fluttering around, sometimes chasing each other, other times heading off in different directions, it helped me to feel what it might be like without so many rules. And, it dawned on me. I can sense when I’m invoking a rule I don’t like, by listening to my feelings.

Many of the rules I don’t like are a source of irritation. Self-imposed rules that limit my freedom are the opposite of being in the flow.

If you get a chance and catch yourself feeling out of your flow, see if you are forcing yourself to follow an old rule. Maybe it’s time to refresh them?

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