The Definitive List of Life Rules (Part 1)

These lists, particularly when they have sub-paragraphs to elaborate, tend to make one’s head feel like it’s about to explode trying to figure out how on earth one will apply all these rules to their lives.

The best way to tackle lists like this is to read it through in its entirety, then before closing out have a last scan through the headings only. Every reading thereafter can be the reader’s own mix of scanning and elaboration as needed.

Let’s be having it then. In no particular order...

  • Be Kind

It costs nothing to be kind. Being cranky and angry with people hurts you as much as them (see ‘Positive Vibes’ in Part 2.) We are all fighting our own internal battles. Try to remember this the next time someone acts in a way you don’t understand or agree with. Chances are, now and again, you do things that have others scratching their heads too.

Just because someone paints on a huge smile every day, or wears a suit of annoying superiority doesn’t necessarily mean they have it all figured out and are looking down their nose at you. In fact, this is oftentimes a huge indicator that the person is hurting inside and their superiority is nothing more than a defence mechanism, a suit of armour against the world.

We’ve all felt what it’s like to get an unexpected smile or a kind gesture from a stranger – it can leave you pumped for the rest of the day. Well, instead of rising to the bait and shouting or grumbling, be the person who brightens another person’s day. Maybe it doesn’t have to be anything more than a smile, holding the door for someone, letting someone through in traffic or giving away your umbrella on a rainy day; maybe instead of being rude to someone who was rude to you, wish them an improvement on their day – whatever it is, believe me, it all counts.

  • Pay Attention to What Irritates You

Sometimes there are people who just seem to irritate us, no matter how hard we try to get along with them. These are the people we need to pay attention to because a lot of the time the things that irritate us about them are a reflection of something within ourselves that we’re not happy about.

This can be a really handy trick because these problems are usually deep-seeded, covert little blighters that have been embellished and exaggerated over time when your back has been turned, and we would never be able to dig them out on our own.

So if something annoys you, sit down and spend some time with it – what exactly is it that annoys you? Why does it annoy you? How does it make you feel? Is there something hidden deep inside you that triggers this feeling? Once you get down to the root of the problem you’ll be surprised how easy it is to let go of it, you may even find it laughable. 

  • Don't Take Life or Yourself too Seriously

People will come and go. It has nothing to do with you; it has to do with their own personal needs and wants. Try not to take it so personally. They didn’t leave the house in the morning with an agenda to get you. The universe is not out to get you either. The universe is impartial, it merely mirrors what you send out, giving you only as much as you expect from it.

When you fuck up remember you’re only human. Oftentimes we forgive others far bigger oopsey daisies than we allow ourselves. Give yourself some leeway. Give yourself lots of leeway. And laugh – laugh at the stupid things you do and giggle at your less than stellar moments. Even more importantly – rather than regret, what-if, and judge yourself, be a source of comfort for yourself when you get hurt, because you will get hurt, inevitably, many times.

But every rejection leaves you open for a better option. If you fail at something it doesn’t mean you are a failure, rather that you are being primed for success because you now know what you shouldn’t do. At the opposite end of what you don’t want you will always find what you do want.

When you lose someone you love it doesn’t mean there’s some cruel dictator up above smiting everyone around you in bitterness or morbid delight. The person you lost had a path, and that path has come to an end, just as yours and mine and everyone else’s path will end sometime.

Live life as if everything is rigged in your favour. Expect the absolute best. And remember – no one can have it all good all the time. When things go wrong, learn to find the lesson in the situation instead of playing the victim.

  • Have Fun

We’re supposed to have fun. We’re supposed to laugh. The days of abstinence are long gone, my friends, and we have moved into the era of excitement and adventure, of branching out and experimenting with new things.

Most of us have had those days that start off with something hilarious. Maybe your pet creases themselves off the patio door, your other half lets a ripper in their sleep, or you stumble across a funny video on the internet, but that moment sets up your mood for the day, and unless you happen to cross paths with someone particularly cuntish who has a knack of pissing people off, your day has the potential to remain on that wavelength. Strive to find something in every day to smile about.

In between all the goals and the everyday duties, there’s a life that needs living. So do the things that make you laugh. Hang with people who make you giggle. Even for just one hour a day forget your duties, put aside your goals and play that new video game, watch that episode, read that next chapter, walk that forest path you’ve yet to walk. There’s an entire world out there built just for your happiness. So enjoy life; what’s the point in being here otherwise?

  • Say No Sometimes When You Don't Want to

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It’s hard to say no sometimes, even when you really don’t want to do the thing you’re being asked to do. But every now and then we have to say no in order to make time for things that serve us better. Not only this, but we need to refuse in order to regain a sense of personal power, because oftentimes it can feel like we’re caught up in the current of other peoples desires while our own get put on the back burner.

You might feel guilty, but it’ll pass. They may be slightly peeved at you. They’ll get over it. Once in a while empower yourself; it’s not selfish, it’s survival. Sometimes it’s okay, sometimes it’s essential to put ‘self’ first. 

How to Say No

  • Say Yes Sometimes When You Don't Want to

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So, you’re in your jimjams. The candles are lighting, the popcorn is wafting delicious from a bowl at your elbow, the movie is primed to go. Ready, set...cue phone. You’re being invited at the last minute to join in some frolics. It’s unplanned, it’s unknown, and frankly, it’s a nuisance. In short, it has all the signs that you should say yes.

Spontaneity gives life some spice. Chances are you’re having a quiet night in because most of your nights out are usually planned in advance, revolve around the same places with the same people doing the same things as last time. Don’t get me wrong – this can be fun, but most often it’s the out-of-the-blue invitations that lead to new experiences, new people, new situations. Some of the best moments we have in life are the ones that aren't meticulously planned beforehand. 

If not, then that movie will still be there when you get home, but for now take the chance, branch out, step out of your comfort zone. It may scare you, but that’s okay, being scared is a sign that you’re standing on the brink of something potentially amazing. 

  • Find Balance

It seems only right to end Part 1 with this. Let’s face it, you can’t say no all the time or people will think you’re just plain mean, and you’ll feel plain mean. You can’t say yes all the time or people will think you’re a pushover, and you’ll feel like a pushover.

In everything in life, try to find a balance that feels good to you, between comfort and adventure, between company and alone time, between work and play. First, it’s important to note that the following pertains to things you enjoy doing. With that in mind, the general rule of thumb is – too much of a thing is over-indulgence, too little of a thing leads to stagnation.

You’ll know you’re over-indulging when a certain aspect eats up the bulk of your time while other things you enjoy get neglected. It’s time to cut back before you burn out. You’ll know you’re stagnating when every day feels the same as the last and the one coming. You need to branch out, spice things up, or boredom, apathy, hopelessness, even depression are the next stops on your journey.

Watch this space for The Definitive List of Life Rules (Part 2).