Let’s say that ever since you were a little, teeny kid you have played by the rules.
You do what’s expected. Maybe even more than expected.
You’re deferential, polite and wait your turn.
You’re a such good girl. You’re a such good boy.
You go to work every day, even when you’re sick, and you miss things like birthdays, anniversaries and tournaments.
They’re paying you so you owe them, you tell yourself.
Your hard work will be noticed someday, you tell yourself.
Because you’re such a good girl – you’re such a good boy – you play by the rules.
Maybe you don’t work – you’re a full-time parent. But still, you’re hyper-competent and you way over-deliver.
Since you’re not working and bringing in any money, you tell yourself.
Everything has to be just so because you’re not working, you tell yourself.
Because you are not just a good boy or a good girl – you have to be perfect.
And the rules are the rules. My goodness, you’d hate to disappoint.
Or show that, perhaps, you’re not really that good (your biggest, most secret fear).
You’ve been living this way for so long that you don’t know who you are outside the rules. You don’t know how to un-conform.
Feels scary to even think about doing things differently.
No one you’ve ever known has colored outside the lines and succeeded.
Well, maybe that one person. Or two.
Or now that you think about it, that friend who left and started his own thing? He seems so happy.
And that woman – the one who went back to work after ten years at home? She’s glowing, right?
Maybe there’s an opening. Maybe there’s a possibility. Maybe the old rules are just that – old.
And there’s a new way to be.
One that’s authentic.
Open. Honest. Fun. Interesting. Productive.
The only thing? You can’t remain a very good girl or a very good boy and get there.
Because good boys and good girls are docile and controllable. That’s why the rules were made in the first place.
What you need to be is: A real person.
Who gets sick sometimes and needs time off and has a family and has dreams and desires and a life of their own.
A real person who won’t put compliance with some arbitrary rules made up to keep people in line over having a life that matters.
Who values living fully over being patted on the head for performing.
A person who knows the rules but sometimes – just sometimes – breaks ’em…because that’s the only way they can fully live.