“The Rules to Break,” by Richard Templar, has long-since been one of my favourite toilet reads. I was going to fib and call it a coffee table book, because reading on the loo doesn’t seem very lady-like, but sod it… it’s the truth. Sometimes I read it when I’m in the bath too…is that better?
Bathroom etiquette aside, it’s just a great book because you can flip through until a heading catches your eye and then read about how and why you should break a particular rule. No doubt I’m drawn towards whatever subjects are relevant to my life at the time, so in some ways it’s like selecting your own horoscope for that day. Toilet horoscopes – what will they think of next?
Today, I was drawn to rule-to-break number 27: “If you don’t like it, tough”.
Being a particularly whingey, miserable child/teen/young adult myself, I lost count of the number of times I heard these words. And there is a place for this, I think; or at least, I could understand why my parents shouted this at me on numerous occasions. I had a bratty attitude and I didn’t want to do anything that I didn’t want to do… which is unfortunately an occasional part of life.
There’s a big difference though between a child hearing this when they’re refusing to visit Grandma, or an adult who takes this attitude into the key areas of their lives. How many people tell themselves that it’s just ‘tough’ that they’re stuck in an awful relationship or soul-destroying job? How many feel that they have to drink away the misery of their week every Friday and Saturday night, just to keep sane?
“If you don’t like it, tough” is not a fair argument. It offers no comfort or explanation. Telling yourself that you’re trapped in this miserable way of life will surely only lead to anxiety and depression, sprinkled with methods of blocking out the pain temporarily.
I have to agree with Richard’s alternative rule: “Remember you have a choice”.
Unless you’re in extreme circumstances, like prison, then there’s always a choice. You can choose to leave a bad relationship or job. Or you can choose to stay, and rethink your attitude, actions and entire approach towards your partner or role.
Whether you change your attitude or you change your circumstances, there’s always something that you can do. It’s never as helpless as you may at first think.