Why do we do what we do? Why do we go to work? Why do we eat what we eat? Why do we have the friends we have? Why do we make the money we make? Why do we get out of bed in the morning? Why do we do anything?
Your Rule Book
While I can't answer those questions for you directly, what I can tell you is that you are walking around with a giant rule book in your head. And every experience and outcome is logged in that book. On top of it, every day your mind finds evidence to support those rules.
It does start at an early age. We are socialized by our parents to not pick our noses in public. To be polite. To say thank you. To look both ways before crossing the road.
Those rules were helpful for you as you learned your way. But when you aren't enjoying your life, your rules may no longer serve you. They may be suffocating your truest self, your essential self as Martha Beck would say.
Your Truest Self
Think of your truest self as the person you would be if you didn't worry about hurting anyone else's feelings... within reason of course. We aren't talking no limits, let's stab someone with a fork because there are no consequences, type of true self. Though if that is you, you may want to check yourself into the nearest mental health institution for a nice long stay. But I digress.
If you were born into a family where money was scarce, you may have a bunch of rules about money that make you tense just thinking about them. Your truest self may starving for air.
If your true self is an artist and you were born into a family of accountants, your creative dreams might be buried so deep beneath layers of left brained thinking you may not even know who you are anymore. Some rules may have to go!
Uncovering Those Rules
The easiest way to find a rule that isn't working for you anymore, that has you in its cluthes, is to think of one wild and crazy thing you'd like to do. Once you have it firmly in mind, I want you to say it out loud.
Here's one I think would be popular.
"I'm going to quit my job and move to (insert dream location) and do (dream job)."
And just wait. The thoughts will pour in. All those rules on how to live your life will magically appear. Some of them might even be said in your mother's own voice.
Write them down.
Next, we'll learn how to evaluate and unravel those rules.