Rules vs. the People

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Recently, I had to spend some time in a hospital and then in a rehabilitation center for some medical problems that I was experiencing. Obviously, my stays in both facilities were not an enjoyable experience but necessary ones in order to remedy my illness. While there, I found that the most important … and aggravating … element was the regimen to which I was expected to conform as part of the process. The most aggravating part of my stays was the feeling of not really having any control over what was happening or what was about to happen in the course of my treatment. Although there was a distinct pattern which the professionals and other staff members practiced, there as also the paradox of a discontinuity contained in that regularity. I’m speaking to the point of never knowing if you were going to have the same professionals from day-to-day. The unnerving part of that was that although they were going to subject me to the same procedures, each of them had a different manner of going about it.

Nevertheless, I was expected to be alert and ready to go along with whatever methods that were being employed without question. The rule was a simple one: keep your mouth shut and follow orders. Now, I’m not sure that anyone enjoys the feeling of not having control over their lives and destiny and even less, the sense of being completely helpless and dependent on those rendering your care. It’s one thing to depend on someone to help you but quite another to be entirely dependent on their role as being essential. This fact is even more excruciating when you know what is best for you … not the professional … but conformity is still required. Those are the rules!

Rules, they say, are meant to be broken. However, some rules cannot be broken in life without having to pay a very heavy price for doing so. It seems under those circumstances the only choice one has is to try to relax, and go along until some semblance of control can be brought back into our life. The thought of that occurring “down the road” may offer some solace that we can regain a sense of control. I suppose that the saying “and this too shall pass” would have tremendous meaning in those types of situations.

You don’t have to be in a facility to experience these feelings and thoughts. Everyday life offers us many opportunities to experience them. Being aware that we have gotten through many such episodes in the past is our ‘insurance” that we will survive this one as well. In addition, the more we experience such frustration, the more adept we become in dealing with them. The trick is to keep ourselves from believing that this new one is only the first and insurmountable one that we’ve ever encountered. There have been many others to one degree or another.

(27 June 2012)


Both as a consultant and author, Charles Bonasera’s story-telling have motivated people to change patterns and resolve problems in their lives. All of his books contain valuable, practical lessons that people can easily apply to bettering and managing their lifestyles. He has also written a myriad of articles which can be found on his website at www.charlesmbonasera.com.

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