Follow the rules, please!
Have you had to travel in this pandemic?
We did. Last week. We had to board the evacuation flight coz well, there was no other flight out. The huge KL airport was closed. Which means none of the shops were open except for the ones at check-in. And since there were only 2-3 flights leaving that day, the airport was deserted. We had to reach the airport 5 hours ahead and guess what, even the air-con was off, we were in masks and face shields and since we couldn’t get hold of PPE suits, we were in raincoats. Mr. Husband, me and our 2 boys under 5. Phew!
Everybody knew the rules but NO ONE was following it. To an extent that I had to tell the lady sitting behind me to not touch my younger son while he bobbed his head in between the seats and she was offended. We had food packages left on our seats which included a cold slice of bread with half a slice of cheese, a small piece of cake and a small bottle of water for a 4.5 hour flight which took off late. I hope it’s the worst flight I’ll ever have coz half hour into the flight, my usually crazy about flying toddler started asking, “When do we land?”
Which isn’t the end. Everyone jumped from their seats the minute the plane touched the runway, ignoring the repeated requests of the flight attendants and had no qualms about rubbing shoulders and pushing past once the doors opened. The baggage claim belt was crowded even though ours was the only flight that landed and people had happily taken off their masks.
Yes, it was a tough day but now in quarantine and enough time to breathe, made me reflect on the why? Why is it so hard for individuals to follow rules? Even those that are meant to keep one safe. Are we just born rebels? What about authority makes us not want to follow? N yet there are people we adore who’s words are enough for us to take drastic decisions.
People do not oblige rules till it makes sense internally rather than enforced externally. Which means for us to follow something it has to align with our sense of self. Which is why our hero has the ability he/she has. We have already accepted them as people whom we agree with.
For example, even though everyone is aware of the rule to wear a seat belt while driving to keep themselves safe, the only one who will wear it when there is no chance of getting a ticket is the one who believes the seat belt will keep him safe rather than someone who wears it to not get caught.
So, I will wear a mask, wash hands and keep distance in situations that don’t get me penalized when I understand the threat to myself from Covid or through me to someone else and take responsibility for it rather than when I’m just told to do so.
The problem is, we are capable of making that choice only to the extent of our awareness. Otherwise, we are merely accepting authority to avoid consequences. This means when there are obvious and clearly defined rules our first response is to question or counter it until the reasonableness/
unreasonableness of it makes sense to us.
Are you still with me?
But what really influences us? It isn’t the traffic rules and safety precautions but the rules that guide our daily living. The rules that dominate our choices and decisions. The rules we have been following unaware and therefore unquestioned, merely because they are not obvious and most times unstated.
Like for example, a lot of us live believing that ‘being busy is equal to being productive’. We are not always aware of this but other than put a lot of pressure on us, is it really true? Or for example, the belief that ‘we deserve a break only after we finish a certain amount of work’. Anyone who suddenly just realised why they keep getting themselves into cycles of heavy work without taking a break?
These are the rules that actually make us live a life that feels unsatisfying, a life less than what it can be, a person less than who they are meant to be. Rules that we don’t even know exist. Rules that are internalised without eevr being questioned.
What undefined rules are holding you back?
And more importantly, are you willing to bring them into your awareness, to make the choice of letting go or accepting or redefining them to live a life of fullness? To be who you are meant to be?
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