How to Interact With Those Who Break Their Own Rules

People make goals for themselves and consistently do not meet them. A part of being a person is to be imperfect. You’ll realize how lost people who look like they have everything under control really are, and you’ll consistently catch people breaking their own rules. There will be people who go on diets and fail to abide by them. There’ll be those who aim to work out every day only to make excuses for why they couldn’t go to the gym in the past three days. Some will say they never get emotional when their ideas are challenged, only then to become upset at those who successfully argue points which counter what they believe. This article is about dealing with people who break their own rules.

We’ve all likely caught ourselves breaking the very rules we’ve set for ourselves. A part of self-improvement is failure and the lessons discovered therein. If self-improvement was as simple as telling yourself to do something from here on in, and simply doing it, then the average caliber of human being would be much improved. The truth seems to point to self-improvement being an everlasting challenge within life. You’ll hopefully have a desire to improve how you think, act, what you do, and how you interact with others until the day you die.


Be Respectful Toward the Journey of Self-Improvement


By reminding people that they are failing in their journey toward self-improvement, you serve to propagate negative feelings. Think back at the last time you broke one of your own rules for living. You may have gotten angry at a family member the day after you told yourself to treat those close to you kindly, or you may have had a piece of cake after you promised yourself to cut down on sugar. We recognize when we break our own rules, and typically feel bad about doing so. There may be a combination of regret and depression affecting an individual when their new year’s resolution becomes another example of failure. Though you may think that you are helping people get back on track by mentioning their lack of commitment to their own goals, the chance of propagating negative feelings is too high.

You should know that people tend to be vengeful, and that you will almost certainly be caught breaking your own rules and not achieving your own goals. Treat those who break their own rules just how you would like to be treated when you break yours. Allow them to understand that failure is certain and expected. Allow them to escape from the shackles of perfectionism and to be contently imperfect, and allow them to develop enough strength to get back on their horse of choice to keep on moving toward their destination. If you do, you will encourage a rebound in the right direction. The act of achieving sizable goals involves a series of mistakes and rebounds (which are hopefully more impactful than the mistakes).


Encourage Self-Forgiveness


In those who fail to meet their own goals, or in those who break their own rules, your actions should consistently encourage the act of them forgiving themselves. Whether you bring it up (which isn’t recommended), they bring it up on their own, or if it is implicitly understood, their failure is to be forgiven and they should be motivated to continue on whatever journey they’ve chosen to venture on. Be kind in dealing with people who are in a rut. Encouraging self-forgiveness can entail anything from a deep and heartfelt conversation, to merely acting as if nothing is wrong in an effort to encourage them to get back into the groove of things. To the friend who tells you they haven’t been to the gym for the third day, say, “That’s no issue, come back with a strong workout tomorrow.” To the person who hasn’t been keeping up with their diet, you should encourage them to remember why they started, rather than to poke fun at their lack of discipline.

Allow others to forgive themselves, not only for their sake, but for your own sake too. You will recognize the role that self-forgiveness plays in achieving your own goals and how crucial it is for your success. By not being hard on others in these situations, you’ll get into a habit of not being hard on yourself under the same circumstances.

Book Recommendation: 

The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery

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