Reject rigid rules

 

rules photo

Reject rigid rules

Let’s get one thing straight. I’m not talking about breaking the law. I do however think it is important to reject rigid rules when it comes to your subjective world. In Cognitive Behavioural therapy, we talk about unhelpful thinking styles (also known as cognitive distortions) and one of these is black and white thinking – also known as rigid rules.

Rigid thinking styles limit you in life – they narrow your focus and make you judgemental. The more rigid your thinking is, the more rules you tend to live by. The inevitable result is that the more rules you have for life, the more often they will be broken.

Some common rigid rules:

People must always like me

I am only worthy if I am in a relationship

I am only good enough if I have lots of money

People must see me as successful

Life should always go smoothly

I should not have to experience any set backs

It’s my parent’s fault

I should cope all the time

Showing emotion is a sign of weakness

The above examples lead to anxiety and stress as we try to live according to them and find they are constantly being challenged. The key to contentment is psychological flexibility. Learn to go with the flow more. Open up your thinking and look for other ways to look at your life and your attitudes. The easier you find it to adapt your thinking and reject rigid rules, the happier you will be for it.

Life won’t always go as planned (in fact it rarely does). You will find that acceptance rather than resistance works much better. Rigidly trying to make the outside world conform to your rules is a waste of energy and won’t ultimately work. Know your values of course but live with an open mind. Be curious…you may learn far more than if you stick doggedly to your rigid rules.

Mandy X

One thought on “Reject rigid rules

  1. Joel

    My reputation is based on what others think of me….
    I have built up a definition of success that the world accepts, therefore I must keep it up at all costs…

    These are but a few more rigid rules that society has told us that we must maintain.

    They say that happiness is not black and white and it seems that you agree with this Mandy.

    As do I.

    As your post illustrates, happiness can be found somewhere in the middle of the rigidity and flexibility. While I don’t believe anyone should deviate from their core beliefs, they must be open to having them challenged. It is the challenging that makes each one of us a better person.

    Reply

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