“I’m a grown woman, I can do whatever I want.”
Rules are essential. They keep the world safe, fair, and civilized, which is why I always do my best to respect the law. But beyond that, I say fuck rules. I refuse to let rules restrict me, especially when they are designed to define how I should act, speak, dress, or live my life.
I’m not saying that I disregard the natural law that governs us all and influences everything from mating, success, and status. In fact, I think the natural order should be respected, and I believe the burgeoning movement to leverage oneself as a victim in order to be perceived as more virtuous and valid than others is foolish.
There are rules of nature and there are social norms, and I challenge the latter. These rules can be found in women’s magazines, self-help books, your upbringing, your friend groups, and your generation’s subconscious. They are rules that tell you how to dress your age, how to be successful in your career, how to be a good mother, and how to be an empowered woman.
Sometimes they are helpful guidelines that can put you in the right direction, but use them only as long as you need them and then throw them out the window. You alone can decide what style, success, and happiness look like for you. You cannot copy others and expect to get where they got, so you should refrain from modeling their choices or comparing yourself to others.
You have to write your own rules based on your unique perspective, values, and belief system, and there will be no perfect example of that in the world because there is only one you. It seems so obvious, and yet it requires constant vigilance not to get seduced by the need for external validation.
Every time I go on Instagram, I feel pulled to compete for a version of success that doesn’t align with my own. I start to desire things that I don’t actually want and that puts me in the mindset that there is a void I need to fill. It is hard to resist the influence of others when you are bombarded by glossy images of a life that seems better than yours every time you go on social media.
If you can, stay off social media. If you have to be on it for work, like I need to for my blogs, then take it for what it is: a visual rulebook on how to be beautiful, popular, and happy that is only an abridged version of the truth and should be regarded as a source of entertainment like a women’s magazine you flip through while getting your nails done. Go ahead and enjoy the pretty pictures, then toss it back in the pile and get on with your life.