In recovery, we learn that the only control we have in life is over ourselves—The 12 Rules for Life provides us all with a great guide on how to accept the things we cannot change, to have the courage to change the things we can, and to gain the wisdom to know the difference.
We will use these next 12 days to reflect upon this wisdom—sharing one rule of life a day.
Here is Rule 1: Stand up straight with your shoulders back.
Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping
The story of the Garden of Eden reveals that we are all touched with Original Sin, however, we still are left with a choice—It may be true that we all possess a shameful, sinful nature–but all God asks of us is to just make a bit of an effort. Therefore, stop waiting for other people to dig you out of your pitiful hole and start treating yourself like someone you are responsible for helping.
Make friends with people who want the best for you
Some Beings are better than others, and we must learn to tell the difference—those beyond our help will only drag us down—therefore, don’t surround yourself with those that do not want the best for you.
Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today
The definition of ‘better’ isn’t to be somewhere you’re happy with, but to focus on moving forward—thus to improve is to focus on one’s own growth.
Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them
Do not fear that your child won’t love you if you must punish them—a child will have many friends, but only two parents—thus do your duty and teach them how to be good and productive people.
Set your house in order before you criticize the world
To take responsibility for one’s own life is to settle personal issues before solving the problems of others—so to achieve change—one must first set one’s house in order before criticizing the world.
Pursue what is meaningful, not what is expedient
Embrace work and sacrifice—aim up, pay attention, fix what can be fixed, don’t be arrogant, strive for humility and be aware of personal insufficiency—it is in this you will find meaning.
Tell the truth – or, at least, don’t lie
We lie because we think it makes life easier—to make others like us more, to make ourselves look better, or to avoid difficult tasks or conversations—but in reality, lying only makes things worse—so be honest.
Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t
To disregard the position of others is to stunt your personal growth—so be empathetic—and in this you will not only understand the value others, but learn something in the process.
Be precise in your speech
The world is only simple when it is working, which is so obvious that we miss it all the time–so remember to always communicate–and you always find your most cherished personal relationships preserved and protected.
Do not bother children when they are skateboarding
This chapter deserves a careful read and is best left for the reader to decide the lesson here and what to take away from it—however—the article below provides a summary:
Last, but not least rule #12:
Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street
This chapter helps us to decipher suffering and how to cope with it—to stop and pet a cat is to be reminded that the wonder of Being may make up for the suffering that accompanies it.