Using the rules

File:La Belle Dame Sans Merci2.jpgWhat do I want? To be loved and happy, to feel I am doing something worthwhile.

My exercise was to watch people struggling with a puzzle, first in a group discussion, then individually, and not be able to say anything, just watch my feelings. I felt terribly frustrated. I knew what they should do, and could not assist- frantic gestures, come on come on just a wee way more, were within the letter of the rules but were deprecated.

How might I need less to fix others and help them? One becomes an instant expert on friends’ relationship and work problems, but ones own persist. Possibly by seeing it differently: people are so difficult to fix, that the slightest improvement is to be celebrated; and perhaps they should decide what being fixed looks like, or learn from their own mistakes. Sometimes the journey has value- though my own has been so painful, that can be hard to believe.

I recognise this is a pattern which arises in my life, but in the context of this workshop it became so much clearer. Person suffering and getting it wrong, me with the wisdom to understand exactly how it could be put right. Harry Enfield nailed it years ago.

Or even, I could use my family patterns.

Now, I am playing with words and understandings. What happened? What did it feel like? How could that feeling be better? It felt as if I an opportunity on my first group share, and it could have led to a better understanding, a new technique. Menis challenged me to say that I love and accept myself, and I did. I wanted to say it truthfully, but after, it felt wrong, it felt that I had said it hypocritically: this is the thing I have to say, here, now, the right way to appear, so I say it. I do not love myself, really. I am still trapped in the rules.

That is my family way of doing things. We find out what the rules are, and obey them, in order to have a quiet life. I dreamed of that: two dreams in which I know the rules, and the powerful people circumvent them so take away the advantage the rules should give me. It is not fair.

Now it seems that this is OK. The rule is to say I love and accept mysxelf, and so I can say I love and accept myself. This is a good thing. Fake it to make it. “You’re just saying that”- well, at least I am saying it.

Mmm. Positive thinking about positive thoughts. Am I boring you?

I was a lawyer, and have done useful things with law since. That story was again on my mind- using the materials to get what I want– Oh, my anger and frustration came out, because doing it as well and effectively as I wished was a rare experience. I did want perfection, after all.

So, use the family trait. The rules are not as I saw them. The rules for better living are, say “I love and accept myself”; insofar as is possible, love and accept myself; do not try to fix others obsessively, though if I notice something useful I can do I can try it, not being attached to a particular outcome; and have mercy on myself. Ah. Good rules. Try those.

“Have mercy on yourself”, said Menis, quietly and urgently.

4 thoughts on “Using the rules

  1. Using the rules. The rules say we should wear clothes in public. They say we should moderate our voices when speaking in restaurants. The rules sometimes are useful, as they allow us to function. Other rules – are they really rules, or did we misunderstand? Did we use them as a reason to give ourselves a hard time? Is there much point to all of this…. or can we just drop all our subtexts and be as we are, now.

    Actually, being as we are is wonderfully liberating, though it helps when we can appreciate ourselves. Otherwise, we cannot be, since we find it hateful being ourselves. Been there….. never want to go back.

    Incidentally, how can you not love yourself, really? I see you, and I truly love what I see. If you dropped all the stories you carry around about yourself, you might find it easier to love what you are, and then, of course, you would feel less need to fix others.

    Have a lovely day. Clare, you rock, my girl!



All comments welcome.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.