Note: The Audio Version of ‘Myth 2. Following the rules will lead you to happiness’ is located at the end of the article.
So if you follow the rules, everything should work out. Right? Following the rules should lead us to happiness.
In all the myths of happiness that we will talk about, ‘following the rules’ is perhaps the most interesting. The reason I say this? For most of us, following the rules has never been seen as a path that could possibly lead us to unhappiness.
Firstly, we need to look at rules in general and the unconscious way they influence our lives. And they do unconsciously influence our lives every minute.
Why do we have rules?
We have rules because it's meant to keep the world as we know it, functioning.
What are rules?
According to the Oxford English dictionary. Rules are a set of explicit regulations or principles governing conduct or procedure within a particular area of activity. Rules are used to exercise ultimate power, control, and authority over an area, activity, or people.
We don’t think about rules having ultimate control and power over us.
However, rules do. And the rules don’t come from us.
Our introduction to the rules
Shortly after you are born, you are introduced to the rules by the generation before you. Following their rules the way they wanted you to influences your behavior. How you act, how you eat, what you do, or what you say. How you get an education, how you should present yourself, what you believed in. It is continuous.
All rules are imposed upon us. Every rule comes from a hierarchy. An older generation, long term establishments, different countries, different cultures. Governments, religious groups, education. Every sport comes with its own set of rules. Growing up it is a well-known unspoken rule that the oldest kid in the playground was the one that got to make the rules while you hung out. Rules are passed down to us. Rules control us.
We can definitely agree that rules keep the world in order. Our lives in order and things functioning and moving forward.
While we acknowledge that rules play such a massive part in our life functioning, we also need to look at the rules and how they affect each of us individually. How following the rules pulls us away from being in our life properly. From being present to us.
Why do we follow the rules?
For love. That’s the key.
I would act differently around my Nan than how I would act around my friends. I would present myself differently at work than when I went out socializing. Unconsciously I would change my behavior to fit with the establishment, the family, the school, etc. If you look at all the reasons behind why you do things or why we change our behavior. It's because there's an underlying rule.
When we are young we are introduced to the rules of our parents. And our parents lived by the rules of their parents.
So what happens is, now I do what my parents tell me to do, which is based on what their parents told them to do. Of course, there are consequences if you don't follow the rules. The main one is you feel that you don't get loved. And when you don’t get loved, we don’t feel approved of. We feel alone. We then adjust our behavior to try to fit in, to align, and as a result ensure more love. This is why we affiliate with the rules that have been passed down to us.
Does following the rules really lead us to happiness?
What is the true impact the rules have?
When we follow the rules we don’t allow ourselves to question.
When you stop and think about it, this concept: ‘Following the rules leads us to happiness’ is really just keeping everyone else happy. When we keep everyone else happy (just like Myth 2 ‘When we sacrifice ourselves we will find happiness’) we are again not focused on ourselves. We're not present to what feels right for us. We then go back to that pattern of dismissing what we need and what we want and what's right for us. We don’t listen to ourselves.
Nor do we ask ourselves, “Does this feel right? Is this rule right for me, is this what I want or need, is this what I believe? Is this my truth?”.
Instead, unconsciously we say to ourselves “I'm not going to question the rule. Because if I question the rule, it means that then I'm going to segregate myself. Then I'm going to stand out. If I question the rule, I'm going to go against what the mass is. This means, I'm not going to get the love and I'm too scared to believe in my own power, or my voice. I need the love from other people.”
So it keeps us in the pattern of not questioning any of the rules and we just repeat the same behavior.
Honestly, following the rules this way does not make us not happy at all.
The power of questioning
If we allow ourselves to question the rules, and not blindly follow them, then not only are we present to ourselves and what feels right, we also potentially have the ability to help humankind evolve consciously.
Let's take gay marriage as an example. And the generational conscious change from my grandparents to my parents, then to me, then to my kids.
We were introduced to the rules and the ‘way things should be’ from our generational line.
So for my grandparents, you would never even be allowed to introduce the concept that you were gay. With my parents the concept was definitely introduced, but it wasn't welcomed. Lots of people were kicked out of home and went through horrendously traumatic experiences in coming out and standing in their truth.
And then for my generation, it didn't matter if you were gay. Most of us would welcome everyone. It didn't occur to us that there should be an issue yet we never addressed the marriage situation. In truth, our alignment still was generationally linked because of the rules that we were brought up with and the love and approval we wanted to receive.
So you can see the rule beginning to soften throughout the generations.
Now when we have kids, there is an opportunity for things to change. The reason is that they don’t have the need to try to get the love from the oldest generation. The younger generation are detached from collecting great grandparent and even grandparent love and because of this, they will absolutely allow themselves to question, especially anything that doesn’t make sense to them. They don’t have anything they will lose. Therefore these kids come in and are like, “What do you mean gay people can't get married, that's stupid.”
And so now in present time, a whole vote is created, gay marriage is legalized and everything changes. The alignment to the rule changes because we allow ourselves to question what feels right. This is the way we evolve. As we evolve we absolutely change the world, we change consciousness. We change because we listen and we question.
Questioning the rules, this is where our happiness lies.
By not questioning, we’re not evolving. And by not evolving we are not present to us being part of our happiness journey. We stay stuck in that real pattern that we've talked about, which is that real dense sad ‘I don't know what I'm doing with my life, I can't find my purpose, I can't find my happiness, I can't find my answers’.
When we follow the rules to find our happiness we follow someone else’s thought to govern our conduct. We do this because we want the other person to acknowledge us, think favorably of us, and love us. We want to feel like we belong, to feel accepted, and to feel loved by them. Because we don’t know how to love, support, or listen to ourselves.
Our potential is to tune into a rule that doesn't feel right and then generationally pull it apart to see if it makes sense to us. To move from the rule controlling us and our environment to questioning the rule until we reassess what feels right to us. This is where our happiness lies.
It’s allowing ourselves to look at each rule and the hierarchical position it comes from. It's pulling it apart to go, hey, this rule really makes me not question myself, not question what feels right, not tune into what my answer would be. I feel controlled, I have no voice, I'm not allowed to find my solution, I'm not allowed to explore what feels right for me.
This is where we're going to move things away from that space of being trapped and not questioning. Because questioning is everything. Questioning allows us to feel, to think, to explore ideas, and to weigh up that things may not be right for us, even though they are right for somebody else. It gives us opportunities to explore our truth and by being able to question we come back to our truth and that ability to listen to ourselves. And that's an absolutely prevalent part of our happiness journey in being able to listen to ourselves.
It’s time we consciously make more space to think before we blindly follow a rule, to tune into, and ask ourselves “Hey, that might be their rule but is it my rule? Does that work for me, does it feel right?” And when we tune into that it makes us become present in our life in a way that we're not.
Where our true happiness is
This is a really significant part in our happiness journey. For us to find ourselves, we have to question the rules and we have to get some space in allowing ourselves to think. We've got to come back to focus on us and disconnect from the generational conditioning that we have had that taught us not to question. We need to ask ourselves what makes sense, and when things resonate we need to honor them for us.
That's when we will begin to feel empowered and we will begin to have a voice. When we are not afraid. We can move away from living the programmed way of ‘I'm not going to question the rule’.
If we live from the space where we are not afraid to question, and we listen to what our own answer is.
This is where our happiness is.