How often did you hear people say that growing up is tough? As a child, it probably made you feel like becoming an adult was a difficult journey but now you’ve reached that place, you feel that air of indifference about it.
When a young person complains about school being difficult, the chances are you’ve moved on from the turmoil you felt when you were younger and you now feel that indifference or feeling of nothing. The same happens when a child gets a new toy – you can’t relate to the child-like excitement anymore that they are experiencing despite having gone through that excitement at one stage.
With turning into an ‘adult’ comes the expectation of maturity and to switch off our child-like way of looking at things. It’s almost like a destination we’ve reached where we’re expected to release all child-like optimism that growing up brought us. But why is this? And what does it really mean to be adult and mature?
From a Curious Child to an Indifferent Adult
Children think and act in the moment. Thinking back as a child you probably didn’t care too much about what others thought usually stemmed by having an incomplete understanding of the world. Fun and imagination is at the forefront of your mind where the smallest things – whether it’s someone singing, a flower or a bird – can become entertaining and curiosity is the name of the game throughout your day.
Yet as we grow up, the idea of self-control becomes much bigger inside of us. We’re taught to focus more on ourselves and heavily judge our actions or decisions. Society tells us to be self-aware of the consequences of our thoughts and how other people perceive us and us them- in other words, we’re told to act like an adult to be accepted.
So now that person singing, that flower and that bird are just that – we’re no longer mesmerised, the magic has disappeared and our perceptions are dulled down. Even if we want to sit and enjoy a good busker on the street like we would have done as a child, chances are we choose not to out of fear of what people think. We don’t give ourselves that permission we did as a child.
The result of becoming an adult, means we’re confining and limiting our minds more than ever. Responsibilities come to the fore and our own interests, career, opinions and needs become more of a priority.
But we never question that our priorities are carved out of what is accepted ‘normal’ by society. We rarely like to be seen as different or going against what’s expected of us so we become indifferent. Our lives dictate that we shouldn’t stop and admire things like we did as a child because we simply don’t have time or feel it’s a waste of our attention.
The Confined Mind is a Limited Mind
The confined mind we develop into adulthood means we limit ourselves to real logic and know that being or doing something ‘abnormal’ is only really defined in the eye of the beholder. Yet we convince ourselves it’s us who’s governing our adult way of thinking.
Acting on autopilot is common with all of us. We act based on what we’ve been told in order to stay comfortable and not seen as an outsider in society. Yet it’s this that’s stopping us from learning and growing. We stopped evolving into better beings as we did as children, the stimulation we embraced that helped us grow stopped and instead we become part of the masses all acting and living in an expected uniform way.
Growing up Is Necessary, Becoming Indifferent Is a Choice
Indifference is the death of child-like growth and optimism but we don’t have to grow up being separate and indifferent to things. Replacing judgement with curiosity is the key to finding that inner-child mindset.
- Be mindful to what you judge as odd and change your perspective. It’s important to ask yourself why you find something odd, embarrassing or strange. Are you afraid of ‘odd’ actions or things? Why? Is it because at some stage other people told you it was strange and so formed your belief? Find out if you’re valid in thinking this way and see if you’re willing to change that perception.
- Embrace what you perceive as odd. Once you’ve understood why you find certain actions odd, it’s important to see why people act this certain way. By seeing this from the other person’s perspective, letting go of the judgement and feeling of indifference, you allow your mind to open up rather than shut down like it would do automatically. Find the good aspects of why someone would choose to go against the social norm and their reasoning behind it. This will soften your adult indifference almost instantly.
So, next time you find yourself in a position where you’d like to do something but won’t out of fear of others’ opinions, or judging others for their choices and actions, ask yourself why you think the way you do. Has your opinion come from the limited beliefs of others? Why should it be perceived as strange or odd? It’s time to rediscover your child-like openness and get rid of the limiting indifference that’s ruling your lack of magic and imagination. Perhaps embracement of the strange is the new maturity.
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