Our society, whether because it’s grabbing for meaning, or because things feel out of control, is full of rules right now. There are rules on a better life, from diet to discipline, to minimalism, and tech purges. There are rules on raising other humans like avoiding NO and sugar and gluten. There are rules on TV and screen time, and how much you need to play, pee, eat, sing, and everything else you can imagine. Maybe it’s a reflection of our regimented tech days, or maybe we hate being out of control.
I hate being out of control. So I make up rules. Absurd rules that make no sense, like in what order I need to wash clothes, or make the beds, or vacuum the house. None of these are based on any needs or service to me. If I wash darks first there is still hot water for lights because the darks need only warm water. If I vacuum the upstairs first, it’s not like the carpet gnomes will report me. None of these mental “rules” make sense, they just exist because somewhere I got it in my head that I needed to do things in a specific way.
I bet you, if you analyzed your life, you have all kinds of rules you follow without even knowing. Maybe you wash your face and THEN brush your teeth, when in fact it would be better to brush your teeth to then remove any residue with face washing. Perhaps you always have a cookie with lunch, when in fact you don’t need the cookie or you could have the cookie whenever you want, maybe for breakfast even! Live wild, it’s invigorating.
To add to the mental notes you have all kinds of people telling you what to do to improve your life. They tell you how to eat, what makeup to wear, how to scoop cat litter, what car you should get, how to make yourself healthier, how yo exercise, how to destress, how to make more money….you get the idea. Everyone has a solution to something, and everyone thinks they’re right.
News Flash, they’re probably wrong.
They may be wrong because SCIENCE. They may be wrong because their goal is to just sell you something without you having any real need. They may be wrong because their methods really only work well for baby boomers, or people in their 30s. They may also just be full of shit. THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE FULL OF SHIT THAT WANT TO MAKE MONEY OFF OF YOU OR MAKE YOU FEEL LIKE CRAP OR SIMPLY THINK THEY’RE AMAZING WHEN REALLY THEY’RE NOT BUT THEY….you get the idea.
The truth is that at any time at least 70 different things want you to follow that trail, that ad, that video, that “alternative fact”. They want you to follow that lead into the land where you share a credit card number or buy into, at least emotionally, some doctrine.
Sometimes these things REALLY work, like Marie Kondo’s methods have helped thousands, if not millions. Kondo’s ideas have greatly improved my home and I love the tips, but I modified them to suit our household needs. I won’t follow her like she’s a god, but I will take what serves me and my family.
On the other hand I tried bullet journaling and freehand journaling and stencil journaling. I got so frustrated and pissed off with having another thing to do “on my list” that I gave it up. Nothing about it served me and my creative needs. However, my best friend finds it extremely soothing and cathartic, and she will most likely continue to journal until the day she dies.
For another example, a friend of mine bought her cat a wheel (like a cat hamster wheel-but for cars) and she was so excited to have this for her cat. Her cat HATED it, would not touch it, and the friend was out $300 for this internet contraption that some cats loved. It has been passed onto a second friend who is trying to convince their cat that the wheel is fun. (Here is a good tip: cats are assholes, and they won’t like anything you buy that’s expensive unless it’s YOUR bed, YOUR couch, and definitely the scratching post you bought for them. Give them cat nip, a box, and a wadded up receipt and you will have a happy cat, I promise.)
The point is, that when you are trying to “self-help” take time to explore what might actually bring you joy and what is a waste of time. Even if your best friend thrives, don’t expect the method to work the same for you.