All of us to some degree like to follow directions; equally, in all of us there is a part that rebels against any restraint on our actions.
I find it very difficult to follow the directions given in a recipe, for example. I can measure out the main ingredients, but then improvise and add extras or take away things according to what I think would taste good. In fact, I rarely use a recipe for this reason; I would rather improvise and see what comes out.
This does mean that I occasionally produce something that is almost inedible, and then I have wasted the ingredients, and we are disappointed for one meal; there is no big crisis.
But sometimes, the direction we are given are important, and to ignore them causes serious damage.
One would think that we humans would respect the seriousness of the issue, and follow direction – but we see all around us that we do not.
I am not so much talking about rules that have been imposed on us by our government, employers or fellow. More I am thinking of the directions that we all know to be “right” and “good” – but which we seem not able to follow.
All of us know that it is bad for our bodies to drink too much alcohol, to overeat, to take unnecessary drugs. We all know that for a healthy body we should drink more water, eat moderately, and exercise daily.
And yet for many of us, to follow these simple directions is not easy.
In fact, it seems impossible to give up the “habits” we know to be detrimental to us. We start out with all good intentions to follow the direction of good health and happiness, but soon find ourselves unable to resist that one small thing. And then, having had one, we rationalize that another won’t hurt, and so begins another cycle of self-destruction.
It is almost as if there are two sets of instructions hard-coded in our brains – one that makes us well, and one that takes the other path. And sometimes, no amount of self-will can take us down the right path.
For many of us, the simple knowledge of what we should do is insufficient – we are powerless to ignore the baser impulses that drive us.
It is here that we can reach out for help – either to literature, to others who have the same issues, or even to professionals who can teach us coping techniques.
As a very wise person once said to me – “If all else fails, follow the directions”