Rules and structure are great things. They can help keep anyone balanced and organized and sometimes, they just keep us sane! However, it is when those rules and structure turn into rigidity that things get sticky. Rigidity spirals into all-or-nothing thinking that can keep you locked into an inflexible state or way of being.
“I must…” “I can’t…” “Always…” “Never…”
When things threaten this black/white thinking, it is a slippery slope that moves quickly into anxiety or panic. Suddenly you realize that the structure you’ve employed to keep you feeling balanced, organized and in control has become out of control and problematic.
Consider the thoughts and belief systems that go with these rules. Likely, they are great examples of extreme unrealistic thinking (e.g.: if i eat/do this today then my entire body/day will be ruined).
Begin to notice where this exists in your thinking and in your life. What are the roots of these thoughts and ideas? Why did you create them in the first place? What would it be like to change your thinking? What would the risk be? What are you afraid will happen? What would the reward be? What will you gain by becoming more flexible? Start challenging these faulty cognitions with the objective reality and notice the disparity. Then, take a leap of faith, pick one thing to challenge and buck your system!
You made these rules. It is time to start breaking them!