I was inspired by Gretchen Rubin's Happiness Project to develop my own personal commandments two years ago. (Hers are in the sidebar of her website and include things like "do it now" and "be polite and be fair.") It was a useful exercise... though it also felt very self-helpish. But it turns out other people were developing personal commandments way before the personal development craze of the 1980s and beyond. Benjamin Franklin, for one. Here are Henry Miller's, which I ran across last week on the Improvised Life website:
I especially like #3 and #7, and am intrigued by #6. What does that mean to you?
For what it's worth, here are mine, which I call intentions.
- Live MaryAnn’s story.
- Love God * Love Others * Love Yourself.
- If it’s not working, reframe it.
- Spend it all.
- Practice “yes-and.”
- Do small things with great love.
- Laugh, sing, breathe.
- Love what is.
- Show up * listen * tell the truth * let go.
- Hold fast to what is good.
- Today is their childhood.
- Make friends with time.
Do you have personal commandments, guiding principles, or intentions? I would love to hear them and/or reasons why such statements are not meaningful or helpful for you.