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How do you handle The Rules? – Catherine Blackwood

I don’t like to begin anything with “There are two types of people…”, especially when I’m told there are four (and they’re not types but tendencies).

According to Gretchen Rubin, there’s not just rule-followers and rule-breakers, which makes sense. She concluded that there are Upholders, Obligers, Questioners and Rebels. You can take the test here:

Years ago, I was unable to settle on one main tendency, and even though I read the entire book, it became no clearer, but that’s because I wasn’t being my true self back then.

I think our unconscious drivers are key.

Before I evolved into what I am, or perhaps I should say, before I began the return to who I really am, I was mostly an Upholder. I took pride in doing what I said I’d do and although I was also highly obliging (and occasionally questioning), I enjoyed the neatness of following rules – my own and society’s.

That’s likely because of my upbringing. The carrot combined with the stick creates someone who doesn’t just try to avoid discomfort but actively strives to outrun the shame by keeping their head down and being super nice and helpful and efficient and good and… You get the picture.

But with maturity and lots of personal development and healing of little t and big T trauma, I am more free to be me – whoever that is.

And now, I fall more neatly into the Questioner category. Which means that I have lost most of my need to oblige and I now don’t always follow through with my own rules.

Being a Questioner allows me to assess things in the moment. What might have been a good idea yesterday now doesn’t necessarily make the grade. To some, that may seem flakey but it actually feels like I’m in the driving seat rather than strapped into a trailer.

Life is changing rapidly. The rules are changing and tightening. Some people are delighted to have more rules to follow unquestioningly. Some are just used to obliging, and they trudge along with it all unquestioningly. A few are Rebels, so they’ll just do the opposite (often unquestioningly).

I’m happy to be a Questioner. I always was one, and I recognise that now. I just needed to shake off all the expectations that were burying me in silent resentment. The “why?“ is much louder now.

I’m never going to have all the answers, but when we ask a question, we’re already challenging the status quo, even if it’s only to declare that we need more information.

Whichever tendency you are, it’s worth cultivating an enquiring mind. Some highly evolved folk may say that they don’t need to know because ultimately it’s all an illusion, but I would suggest that we arrived here with an inner knowing, and it’s a matter of how strongly we can connect to this. When we question something, there’s a part of us that feels something “in the matrix” doesn’t add up.

Someone might judge this as an inability to trust, but isn’t it actually a commitment to feeling aligned with one’s self? It’s about sensing when something feels “off” and exploring until we reach our inner knowing. This is trust in our Spirit or God-Source, and is a wonderful life companion.

It’s that dance of *knowing* we’re living inside an illusion but still wanting to explore the landscape and all its curious crevices while we’re here. Because anything else would be a wasted trip!