Dubrovnik Photo Diary + A Few Thoughts on Letting Go of Self-Imposed Rules


Looking back on these photos from Dubrovnik makes me wish I were back on our 12-day Mediterranean cruise, completely carefree, oblivious to the day of the week and basking in the abundant sunshine. {If you have never taken a cruise, I highly recommend it!}


For a person who constantly blogs about being more carefree, you would think I would have it together by now. But unfortunately, Mrs. How-To-Be-Carefree may not be so carefree, after all. In fact, if I’m being completely honest with you, I sometimes feel like the least carefree person on earth. Ironic, isn’t it? But that is why this topic is so important to me, because I recognize that it is a trait that needs to be worked on, and what better way to do that than with a group of readers to keep me accountable? Perhaps my type-A personality is to blame, but the fact of the matter is that finding something to blame will not help me fix the problem.


I’ve always suspected that I was a perfectionist, but there is nothing like travel to help us truly evaluate ourselves and the direction in which our life is going. Lately I have started to notice just how many unwritten rules and how much pressure I have managed to impose on myself over the years. I am not talking about societal norms or ethical standards but self-imposed restrictions, limitations and boundaries that are deeply rooted in how I view myself. I have unwritten rules to follow for just about everything. It’s as if I live in constant fear that if I don’t do certain things in a particular way, I am a failure.


For example, consider the following three self-imposed rules I am most guilty of, and see if they resonate with you {count yourself lucky if they don’t!}:

  1. I expect myself to excel at everything I do right from the start. If there is even the slightest possibility that I will fail, I won’t even try.
  2. If I want things done right, I must do them myself.
  3. Nothing I do is ever good enough. An accomplishment brings me little satisfaction, because I am constantly analyzing all the ways I need to improve.


It doesn’t take a genius to immediately see that the first and third rules contradict each other, which is one surefire way of setting yourself up for constant failure and a feeling of disappointment. Trust me – been there, done that, raised my tiny white flag in defeat. But get this: self-imposed rules only bind us as much as we let them. Perhaps it’s time to evaluate our priorities and decide what is really worth this intense level of commitment and what simply needs to be laughed at and forgotten. You and I are responsible for whether we live our lives in freedom and liberty. After all, what is stopping us is simply in our head. When we take the risk to redefine our boundaries, that’s when we truly become carefree.


What are your current unwritten and self-imposed rules? What have you done about them?

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