The S.T.U.C.K. Method

Five Simple Steps to Emotional Well-Being



rules I was playing a memory game with my son yesterday when he started changing the rules.

He (nonchalantly) started to pick up 3 cards to peak at instead of 2.

“Hey, I said.  What are you doing?  You’re breaking the rules!”

“No,” he replied.  “You’re allowed to pick up 3 at a time.”

“Really?  Since when?”

I acquiesced.

“Fine.  But, you know.  You’re changing the rules.  Which is fine.  But, we need to discuss changing the rules before you change them.  We need to agree on the new rules.”


Over this past weekend, rules were broken.  One after the other.

I’m not talking about rules in the house or between family members.

I’m talking about rules in the community.

Which we sort of have.

(I say that because it seems that most people in our community don’t really want rules.  But anyway, that’s really another topic for another time.)

In this case, the rules that were broken occurred at the synagogue over Shabbat.

Nothing really big deal or earth shattering.

But, when you sit on a committee and you are the head of that committee (like I am), you feel a certain responsibility to uphold rules or decisions that are made.

And, interestingly enough, all the rules that were broken this time happened because of one individual (who doesn’t even sit on the synagogue committee and who was taking liberty to make synagogue decisions on his own).

But, what was I going to do?  Parent him like I parented my own child?

So, as I sat in my seat during prayer services on Friday night, feeling frustrated because rules were being broken, I decided to follow my acronym: S.T.U.C.K.

S – Just stop.  Be still.  Take a breath.  I noticed I was frustrated. I took another breath.

I somehow or for some reason skipped “T” and “U” and went right to “C” – and just recognized the decision:

Either I could stay frustrated


I could enjoy and stay focused on the prayer service.

I chose the latter.

And reminded myself (K), that it’s ok that I got stuck there for a moment in the first place.

The truth is, as the rules continued to be broken the following morning, I “stuck” with my acronym and amazingly came to the conclusion that the individual who caused the rules to be broken wasn’t actually purposefully trying to hurt anyone or show any sense of power.  He was, in his own mind, just trying to help the community.

And, that new perspective for me was earth shattering.

And approaching him (which I did two days later) from that place, as opposed to an angry/judgmental place was just as remarkable.


And, it makes me wonder: Should I have automatically jumped at my child for changing the rules?

Or, just stop and notice first?


Author: Shira Taylor Gura

Well-Being Coach, Podcast Host, Author of the award winning book, Getting unSTUCK: 5 Simple Steps to Emotional Well-Being.

6 thoughts on “STUCK on RULES!!

  1. Shira, Thank you for your post. I enjoy them so much. I understand the frustration of rule-breaking (by others), especially in shul. It can be very frustrating. I have had times that I have to leave the sanctuary in order to re-focus myself on prayer and get “unstuck” from my focus on the rules being broken. For me, I find those moments can help me lead to a bigger discussion when I am more relaxed. In other words, when I am unstuck, I ask myself why did I feel stuck in that moment, in that place? Is there a bigger challenge in the picture? Will I keep feeling stuck in that environment (rule breaking) and if so, what does that mean for me? Do I change my outlook on the breaking of rules or do I need to not put myself in that place? Another example is at carpool at school. When people don’t follow the rules, I feel myself getting upset… so after thinking about it and trying to not be stuck in that, I decided that it was best for me to come to carpool as one of the last cars. That way, I don’t see all the rule breaking that happens! Sounds silly, but that is my “fence” so to speak.

    • Jamie, thank you!! Yes, all of your questions are wonderful and I resonate with them! I responded to my friend’s response below, that in the end, I did speak with the person after all the events happened. It was important to me that he knew that what had occurred was not ok. Yet, I was able to approach him from a different place, which was just wonderful and healing and effective. It’s so important to be reflective on all of this. It’s so nice to hear I have a partner doing the same thing on the other side of the ocean!

  2. For the record, if I’m ever the one breaking a rule, feel free to call me out for it. I generally like the idea of rules…If I have a problem with one, I’d rather speak up about it and try to change it, rather than simply breaking it.

    Maybe that’s a counterpoint to your post:

    If someone broke the rules and you say nothing, there are potential unintended consequences. Maybe the person did not know that rules were being broken, and not having been called on it, will continue to break the rules in the future. Or maybe someone else will decide to do the same thing as this person, also without knowing that it is violation of the rules, because no one said anything about it.

    I understand and appreciate the perspective that there is real value in transcending judgment and getting to a place of acceptance, peace,etc. It’s challenging, though to consider where the right place is to draw the line, because silence also carries a message.

  3. Thanks, Ian. I appreciate the time you took to express your response to my post. Yes, I hear and agree with you. Actually, I DID speak with this person, a few days later and got to a place of clarification on everything that happened. What was wonderful about all of this is that I did that coming from a completely different space than I would have had I automatically reacted to him on the spot. I took some time to just pause and notice all the thoughts and feelings overcoming me. And, from that space, something happened. Something opened up. And, it allowed me to be in a completely different place when I approached him. I came from a questioning kind of place, rather than an angry/judging kind of place. That in and of itself, for me, was wonderful and powerful!

  4. Great blog! You really create such an awareness for others.. I love reading each week! ‘me


  5. Shira, I am so happy that you didn’t react immediately which would have shown your annoyance. Speaking to him when you were calm, allowed him to not be defensive and to reconsider what he had done in a calm way. I hope you both were agreeable in the end.

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