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Cataloging Your Inner Rules

We all have rules that guide our behavior on a daily basis. We might not be able to clearly articulate all of them, but they hang around in our subconscious and nudge us towards behavior that is consistent with them. Many of these rules might be good (e.g., “Good people don’t badmouth others behind their back”) but some of them might not be adaptive or helpful (e.g., “If you make one mistake, you are a bad person”).

Use this worksheet to help you identify a questionable or harmful rule you have and challenge it.


  • The Infraction. What did you do that broke one of your own internal rules?
  • The Rule. What rule did your behavior break? Why did you feel bad after engaging in that behavior?
  • The Rule’s Origins. Where did it come from? What makes you think the rule is right, or a good rule?
Advantages of keeping this rule?Disadvantages of keeping this rule
How does this rule help you?How does this rule hurt you?
  • What to Do with This Rule?
    • Keep it, Trash it, Modify it?
  • The Rule Going Forward. What is the best possible version or replacement of this rule?

Have any thoughts, questions, suggestions, or comments on this article? Wondering how to this can be applied, modified, or adapted to your polyamorous, swinging, kink/ BDSM, or otherwise interesting relationship? Feel free to reach out to us here.