— By Dr. Sandip Roy.
Life can be more enjoyable when we follow some unwritten, yet powerful rules. These rules help us build stronger connections with others and create a more caring society and world.
But why unwritten? Because unwritten rules are based on trust.
They have played a main role in governing societies for thousands of years. Before written laws, they were our only guidance.
Humans are social creatures, and following unwritten rules helped our ancestors navigate group dynamics and keep communities working together.
Even today, they help us navigate the overwhelming number of situations in our lives. A study by Deloitte revealed that 91% of Americans sign user agreements without reading them.
Here are some unwritten rules for life that I wish someone had told me earlier:
1. Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It
Make self-love a priority in your life—it is the foundation of your mental well-being and success in all areas of life.
Self-love is not about being selfish or arrogant. It is about taking care of yourself physically and mentally, respecting yourself enough to set boundaries, and saying no to things/people that are not good for you.
When you love yourself, you are more likely to choose healthier habits, make better choices about spending your time and money, and know when to quit a toxic relationship.
Self-love also makes you more resilient in the face of challenges and setbacks.
- Set boundaries in all your relationships. Learn to say no to things that you don’t want to do or that are not good for you.
- Take care of your physical and mental health. Eat healthy, get regular exercise, and get enough sleep. Take time for activities that you enjoy and that make you feel good.
- Be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself for your mistakes and be accepting of your imperfections.
- Celebrate your accomplishments. Take the time to appreciate your successes, no matter how small they may seem.
It takes time and effort to learn to love yourself unconditionally. But it is a journey that is well worth taking.
2. Don’t Let Anyone Disrespect You Thrice
Let’s repeat that: Don’t let anyone disrespect you thrice.
Disrespect is unacceptable in any relationship. Allowing disrespect repeatedly can make others see you as less worthy, weak, and available for “use and discard.”
Over time, it seriously erodes your self-esteem.
So, the rule is to set and enforce personal boundaries after the first incident of disrespect. You may ignore it, giving them the benefit of the doubt.
Then, if there is a second instance, clearly tell them your stance and what you will do if it repeats.
When it occurs the third time, bring down the curtains on the relationship. Your dignity is more important than any one person in your life.
- Be clear about what is and is not acceptable behavior.
- Communicate your boundaries calmly and assertively.
- Be consistent in enforcing your boundaries.
- Be prepared to walk away from relationships that do not respect your boundaries.
3. Your Thoughts Are Not Always Telling You the Truth
Don’t believe everything you think.
Your mind can often play tricks on you, leading you to believe in a distorted version of reality.
Your thoughts are not always accurate or reliable. Your emotions, your past experiences, and your biases can influence them. If you believe everything you think, you may end up making decisions that are not in your best interest.
For example, if you have a low opinion of yourself, you may have negative thoughts about your abilities and your worth. These thoughts can hold you back from achieving your goals and living your best life.
Or, if you are going through a difficult time, you may have negative thoughts about the future. These thoughts can make you feel hopeless and unmotivated.
Rather, tell yourself this:
“My thoughts are not always true. They are just my mind’s interpretations of the world around me. And interpretations can be wrong.”
If you have a negative thought, don’t automatically believe it. Instead, ask yourself if there is any evidence to support the thought. Is there a more positive way to look at the situation?
4. Don’t Wait for Happiness or Success, Walk Up To Them
Take action toward your goals, and happiness and success will follow.
Happiness and success are not destinations. They are journeys. And the journey begins with taking action.
What are the things that bring you joy and fulfillment? What are your goals and dreams? Once you know what you want, start taking steps towards it.
Even small steps can make a big difference.
For example, if you want to be a writer, you could start by writing a page a day. Or, if you intend to start your own business, you could start by doing some research and creating a business plan.
The important thing is to take action. Don’t wait for happiness or success to come to you. Go out and create it for yourself.
5. Show Appreciation For The Good Things From Others
Show appreciation to the people who help you, as an unwritten rule.
You’re not just building stronger relationships and a more positive community, you are also telling them that they are important people in your life.
Showing appreciation to others, acknowledging their efforts, and letting them know that we value their contributions makes you a genuinely good person.
At the end of the day, all of us can bask in the warmth of the kind act, feel good about humanity, and pass it on to help others.
- Say “Thank you” without hesitation. It may seem simple, but a sincere thank you can go a long way.
- Be specific. Tell the person what you are grateful for. For example, instead of saying “Thanks for your help,” say “Thanks for helping me with the presentation. I couldn’t have done it without you.”
- Be timely. Express your gratitude as soon as possible after the person helps you. This shows that you appreciate their efforts and that you are paying attention.
- Be genuine. Make sure your gratitude is sincere. People can tell when you are being fake, and it can backfire.
6. Be Present Where You Are Present
- Put away your distractions and focus on the people and the moments that matter.
In today’s fast-paced world, it can be easy to get distracted. We are constantly checking our phones, our email, and social media. But when we are distracted, we miss out on the present moment.
When we are present in our interactions with others, we show them that we value them and that we are interested in what they have to say. We also make deeper connections and build stronger relationships.
- Put away your phone and other distractions when you are talking to someone.
- Make eye contact and listen attentively.
- Ask questions and really listen to the answers.
- Avoid interrupting.
- Be mindful of your body language. Make sure your body language is open and inviting.
Being present is also about respecting people’s privacy. When someone is in private, don’t eavesdrop or try to intrude on their space. It proves that you trust them and that you value their boundaries.
7. Pay Back Borrowed Money Before They Ask
Pay back borrowed money before expected, even if you haven’t been asked.
Paying back money promptly shows you are a person of integrity. It also indicates that you respect the relationship, appreciate their trust, and did not keep their money more than necessary.
When you don’t pay back borrowed money on time, it can create tension and strain in the relationship. It can also make the person who lent you the money worry and feel insecure.
- Set a repayment schedule with the person who lent you the money.
- Stick to your repayment schedule, even if it means making sacrifices.
- If you are having trouble paying back on time, tell them why it’s getting delayed and when you can pay them back.
- Do not lie. Be honest and transparent about your financial situation.
- Show that you are committed to paying back the money, even if it takes longer than you expected.
Paying back borrowed money before being asked reflects maturity and responsibility. It establishes your social trust.
8. Treat Everyone Equally & Fairly
Treat everyone with fairness, kindness, and respect, regardless of their status or background.
Our unwritten rules often guide our decisions more than our written rules. When we treat everyone equally, regardless of their status, we create an atmosphere of fairness and kindness. This atmosphere can ripple out to influence the broader community.
When we treat everyone with respect, we show that we value them as human beings. We also show that we believe in the principles of equality and fairness. This can have a positive impact on the people around us and on the community as a whole.
- Be mindful of your language and actions. Avoid making assumptions or generalizations about people based on their appearance, background, or status.
- Be open-minded and respectful of different cultures and perspectives.
- Be inclusive and welcoming to everyone.
- Stand up against discrimination and bullying.
9. No Relationship Is Promised Forever
No relationship is guaranteed to last forever.
Remembering that no relationship is forever can make us appreciate our relationships more fully. It can help us enjoy the moments while they last, invest ourselves wholeheartedly, and be flexible to changes in life.
On the flip side, it also means that we should not tolerate people who are using us, insulting us, or treating us unfairly. The clue to this is that—is the chance to meet the person makes you happy or stressed.
Relationships can and do change over time, and this is normal. Adapt to life’s changes.
Don’t try to control the person to be back to their old selves. If they change, that’s their choice – accept it. Either change your expectations or leave them.
- Be mindful of your thoughts and feelings. Notice the good things about your relationships and appreciate them.
- Spend quality time with your loved ones. Put away your distractions and focus on being present with them.
- Express your love and appreciation for your loved ones. Tell them how much you care about them and what you value in your relationship.
Life can be unpredictable, so always talk to your loved ones. Tell them about your dreams, needs, and emotions, and listen to theirs.
10. A Few More Unwritten Rules For Life
- Stick to your plans. When you make a commitment, keep it. This shows that you are reliable and trustable. If you need to change a plan, tell them as soon as possible and explain why.
- Mind your table manners. Proper table etiquette shows respect for the people you are dining with. Keep your elbows off the table, don’t talk with your mouth full, pass food to the right, and wait until everyone is served before you start eating. To make sure everyone has a good time talking to each other uninterrupted, don’t use your phone.
- Say you’re sorry. Everyone makes mistakes. When you do, sincerely apologize to the person you affected. This shows that you are humble, accountable, and committed to maintaining a good relationship.
- Respect privacy. Don’t share other people’s personal information without their explicit permission. This is a sign of respect and trust.
- Handle other people’s phones with care. If someone lets you borrow their phone, only use it for the purpose for which it was lent to you. Don’t go through their messages or photos without their permission.
- Respect sleep. Avoid making loud noises or disturbing others when they are trying to sleep. This is a sign of consideration and respect for their need for rest.
One of the consequences of this digital era is the rise of cancel culture, where individuals are “canceled” or ostracized for violating unwritten rules, often without due process. Social media provides a powerful tool for calling out perceived transgressions, but it can also lead to a rush to judgment and online vigilantism.
Every unwritten rule begins as a solution to a problem. People experiment with various approaches, and the most effective one spreads through society.
Unspoken and unwritten rules are actually social norms integral to human society. They shape our interactions, maintain order, and reflect our shared values.
Let’s finish this with 3 positive psychology-based tips for success in life:
- Cultivate gratitude: Develop a habit of expressing gratitude daily. Take a moment to reflect on the positive aspects of your life and the people who support you. This helps shift your focus from what you lack to what you have, leading to more happiness and contentment.
- Nurture positive relationships: Invest time and effort in building strong connections with friends, family, and colleagues. Support and encourage the people around you, and surround yourself with individuals who uplift and inspire you. These positive relationships will form a solid foundation for personal growth and well-being.
- Embrace a growth mindset: Believe in your ability to learn, change, and improve throughout life. Embrace challenges and view failures as opportunities for growth. This positive attitude can lead to greater resilience, success, and overall well-being.
√ Please share it with someone if you found this helpful.
√ Also Read:
- 15 Keys To Success In Life (With Happiness That Lasts)
- Driving Success: Exploring The Psychology of Motivation
- 12 Sleep Affirmations For Success, Confidence, & Happiness
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