Here are a few cardinal rules of life that will help you navigate your way through. Stephen Covey had his seven. I have mine. They are simple. They are true. They don't change.
Here are Becky Rickman's rules to live by:
1. You can't make someone love you
This, to me, is one of the most important so it is right up at the top. Let's just get this clear right off — you cannot make someone love you. Not by trying to make him jealous. Not by trying to make yourself the person she wants you to be. Not by losing weight, keeping the house clean or having children together. You simply cannot make someone love you. But, you can love him or her freely — and that's alright. Just don't become some crazy stalker in the process.
2. You cannot affect a change by sitting at home and grumbling about it
Politics, government, social reform, prejudice — none of these will ever change by you sitting around hating and grumbling. If there is something you don't like or agree with, be the change. Do write letters. Do make phone calls. Do compose eloquent letters to the editor. Do form a committee. Do start a petition. Don't sit around like some crazy person and rant about things you can't change — and drive away all your friends in the process.
3. Someone, sometime, will break your heart
Perhaps, an ugly rumor will circulate about you. Perhaps, someone will lie or steal from you. Maybe, someone will cheat on you. Hurt is part of life and your job is to learn from it and let it go. Don't let it stop you from trusting and believing in the other good people who will come your way. Men are not all the same. Women are not all the same. Teenagers are not all the same. People are different and you owe it to yourself to give each one a chance. "I could have missed the pain, but I'd have had to miss the dance." Thank you, Garth Brooks.
4. The only person you can control is yourself
You can't make a 2-year-old behave. You can't make someone believe in your religion. You can't make a teenager stop texting and driving. People are going to do what they want. Controlling yourself is job enough for anyone.
5. You can control yourself
Self-mastery and self-control seem to be lost concepts. Somewhere along the way, people began to use phrases like, "It just happened." "I didn't expect to do this." That's a bunch of hooey. There is a moment — maybe only a nanosecond — where you have a choice to make and you make it.
A naughty window pops up for porn on your computer screen. Do you click the X or do you go there? A co-worker comes on to you. Do you give in the momentary urge or do you hold your moral ground? We all have urges and temptations. They are actors on the stage of our minds. The question is, do we let them entertain or do we let the curtains down and close the show? We are the bosses of us and the sooner we realize that, the better off we'll be.
6. Baggage is a choice
We all have it. The question is, do we lug it around and open it for everyone to see or do we set it down and walk away? The first thing we need to do is open it, in private, and sort through. We need to pull out the lessons and leave the details. Then, seal it shut. Put a lock on it. Toss the key in the sewer. Walk away. Keep the lessons with you always. Let the rest go.
7. You will almost always judge yourself more harshly than anyone else
Sometimes we get lost in this mire of self-doubt and self-loathing and imagine that the whole world sees us this way. They won't unless we teach them how to by demonstrating it to them vividly every time you talk to them. Pointing out our flaws to others is one of the silliest pastimes we humans participate in. When someone compliments you, say, "Thank you," and leave it at that.
8. What you believe in doesn't require anyone else to believe in it
This is an amazing truth. God doesn't exist because you believe he does. He exists. And if anyone else doesn't believe in him, it doesn't make him not exist. Your faith doesn't require anyone else's belief. This truth is wonderfully liberating.
I have degenerative disk in my back and hurt most of the time. You can believe me or not. It doesn't matter. I live with the pain and don't have to prove to you that it hurts. Truth is truth and doesn't require anyone's belief to be true. Along with that is a little ditty taught to me by a PhD that ran a drug and alcohol treatment center I worked at. Never defend, explain or justify. When you trip over yourself trying to defend yourself, you look guilty. State your truth and leave it alone. You don't have to explain why or how.
There you have it. My eight cardinal rules of life. For a little levity, my daughter threw in a bonus:
9. You can pick your friends and you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your friend's nose.Enough said.