Many of you will know exactly what I’m talking about when I say that children change our lives. In fact they have this magical ability to expose us to such a vast array of emotions that we’re sometimes left breathless and exhausted! But I think most importantly of all, they change our perspectives and remind us of how life should be lived… because so often, we’re lost in the whirlwind of the big crazy life we’ve created for ourselves and we actually forget to really live. I believe that if we’re here on this planet at this moment in time, we all have an important, probably unique, role to play and children, with their innocence, authenticity and pure joie de vivre, can be a major catalyst in helping us find our way through the dense forest to see the big picture.
So here are the 6 most important lessons I’ve learnt from my daughter over her 8 years by my side:
1/ Live In The Moment
If I watch my little girl playing in her room, I can see that she is totally focused on the here and now. She isn’t thinking about tonight’s dinner, how she has to call so and so and that she forgot to send that ever so important email before 6pm. No, she’s just concentrating on the task at hand and she devotes every ounce of her energy and enthusiasm to it. In fact, because she’s so “present” and not lost in her thoughts like we often are, she can easily see all the great tools that life places along her path to provide her with even more fun opportunities. An old shoe box: the perfect garage for Barbie’s new car! A flowery pink blanket: an exotic princess’s wedding gown (to name but a few of her creative endeavors)!
We miss out a lot on life when we’re too busy worrying about some potential future event or replaying the past. If we just focus on NOW, there’s no need to be afraid because, in the present moment, we have the power to take immediate action. In short, we’re totally in control of our lives.
2/ The Most Important Thing Is To Feel Good
Have you ever noticed how the number one priority of every child is to play and have fun all the time? How every moment is an excuse for a new game, clowning around, singing or laughter? They would never think to themselves “I should really be outside cutting that grass instead of playing another game of hide and seek”! In fact, children never let themselves be bogged down by the “shoulds” of this world like us adults do. They’re totally connected with their intuition on a daily basis, which guarantees that they’re always doing something they enjoy.
How about we all follow our gut instinct and invite our joie de vivre out to play a bit more often?
3/ Don’t Be Afraid To Say No
I think that we’ve all been faced with children who aren’t afraid to say no if they don’t feel like doing something and my daughter is no different! Even though I understand that some things obviously need to be done and can’t be avoided, I still think that we can take a leaf out of their book in this respect because many a time, we’re guilty of saying yes to requests simply because we feel obliged to do so, scared that we might hurt someone’s feelings or end up being “disliked”. The problem is that when we force ourselves to do something, we end up regretful and frustrated with even less time for ourselves.
We need to remember the saying “put your own oxygen mask on first before trying to help others”.
4/ Dream BIG
When I asked my daughter what she wanted to be this week, she said a model. Last month, it was a stylist and dancer. Next month, it could be an astronaut. And when she tells me, there isn’t the merest inkling of doubt in her voice. She is completely confident that she can do whatever she wants to do when she grows up.
Remember when we were like that? When our childhood dreams were so vast and our imagination so creative, the world had no limits? When our ambitions roamed freely and our hearts sang with excitement? That’s before we grew up and put limits on our dreams and on what we thought was possible for us.
We’ve just forgotten how to dream. We simply need reminding that we all have the potential to do great things, to follow our passion and make a difference.
5/ We Can Find Happiness Whenever We Want – It’s A Choice We Make
Children are attracted to children. They’re like magnets to each other because they share the same desire for joy and amusement. When my daughter’s at the park or on the beach, she might not know anyone when she arrives but within a few minutes, she’s made at least one new friend to play with. Unlike us adults at times, children have no preconceived ideas or prejudices, they just look for someone who wants to have fun too and run off to join them. Their actions aren’t restricted by fears such as “well, what if I go over to introduce myself and they just blank me, I’ll look so stupid!”
Imagine how many opportunities we’ve missed due to “what ifs”. Imagine how much better the world would be if we were all that little bit more friendly, in the street, at the shops, in the bus queue…. We were all programmed to find true happiness when we arrived on this earth, we just gradually stopped following our “inner” GPS and lost our way. So just decide that happiness is your due, press RESET and start again, it’s never too late!
6/ Be Yourself (because no one else can do it better than you)
Children are completely authentic. They hide nothing. They tell you exactly what they’re feeling, how much they love you and what they’re afraid of when you turn off the light. They let you know how well they did such and such today and how great they are at something else. They’re happy in their own skin, totally confident in their abilities and not trying to be anyone else.
There’s a certain aura about people who are authentic. They hold a quiet confidence about them. They’re not afraid to appear vulnerable. In short, they’ve realized that there never has been and never will be another “them”.
When we’re finally no longer afraid to be ourselves, discover our “unique voice” and reach for our dreams to find the happiness we deserve, there’s no limits to what we can achieve.
We just need to awaken the child within us….
Images courtesy of Unsplash