I've been having a little rules problem with my four year old twins lately. For a solid month I have had to play hall monitor at night to keep them from going to the other's room and having a pre-school rager that includes copious amounts of goldfish and late night wardrobe changes (my daughter has hit some princess phase and must be dressed accordingly 24/7). I have begged, bartered, told them Santa was watching and have taken away toys yet nothing, and I mean nothing, will get my little angels to follow my rules. So, I have succumbed to sitting outside their doors at night perfecting my mom glare, silently wondering what I have done in my past life to deserve this kind of karma, and diving down endless rabbit holes in my quest to understand the pre-k version of rules 101.
"I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do."
I'll be the first to admit that rules are hard for me to understand and I have a problem following the minor ones. Let's face it, not all rules are created equal. You've got rules that are in place to control the behavior of others, rules that are for personal safety, and rules for the safety of our fellow humans. There are rules that are black and white and will get you a grounded or a prison sentence if disobeyed and there are rules that are open to interpretation that rebels like me push the envelope on.
I'm not calling for society to start descending into mass chaos by rebelling and continuously challenging every rule set forth by those in charge but I do think it's imperative that we ask ourselves if there are certain situations that may call for the transgression of rules. In other words, is it okay to break the rules sometimes as long as no pain is brought upon yourself and others? Is it okay to take an occasional break from monotonous routines and discipline? Don't tell my mother I said this but I believe yes, some rules are meant to be broken.
When the rules lead to the pressure of self-imposed conformity, break them. Social media is notorious for driving conformity because it makes it so easy for the preferences and views of others to be shoved down your throat by simply scrolling the timeline. You can get judged and ostracized for not following the herd and what they consider to be the social norm. Should one really feel as though they have to stick to these social norms accepted by others? I say break the norm and risk being different. This will unbind you from chains that hold you back from being free and this is one of the most liberating feelings one could have.
Breaking certain rules can spark creativity and bring about new ideas and change. Think about it; If one was to follow every single rule ever made their life would remain dull and their true potential might never be known. It is those that don't conform to the social norms that go on to become successful. These are your innovators, artists, and top leaders of the world and they obtained all of their success by always questioning the rules, remaining curious, developing a unique identity, and being courageous enough to challenge the limits.
Again, I'm not advocating that you go out tonight and let loose but I am saying that you should sometimes consider whether it might be more beneficial for you if you didn't toe the line at times. In considering what rules to break, always evaluate if the outcome will be worth it. Ask yourself if the result justifies the ramifications of breaking that rule. Furthermore, always put your personal values first. Never break a rule that would lead you to betraying your personal set of morals and values. When working with others always consider the consequences and benefits of the greater good if choosing to break the rules. Lastly, keep in mind when you break a rule there comes with it the sense of some kind of responsibility. Break them with awareness and a positive end goal in mind. Now, go break some rules and conquer the world. As soon as my hall monitor gig is up, I'll be right behind you.
“Rules and responsibilities: these are the ties that bind us. We do what we do, because of who we are. If we did otherwise, we would not be ourselves. I will do what I have to do. And I will do what I must.”