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Ten Things Everyone Needs To Learn From Their Childhood Self

Ten Things Everyone Needs To Learn From Their Childhood Self

We can all learn from our childhood selves. That innocent kid within us that used to take the world at face value and trusted the process of life. I know that we can learn a lot from our childhood self and re-introduce a childlike wonder into our daily experiences. Here’s how…

1. Be more trusting of others & let others in instead of building barriers

As we get older, life throws us challenges and sometimes those challenges cause us to shut off from the world in order to protect ourselves. We get hurt and we quickly learn to judge others and build barriers to keep others and the world at bay. This gives us a sense of control but it also fosters loneliness and disconnection from others. Learn to let the barriers down and allow others to get to know the real you. The more someone knows you, the more empathy they will have for you. The world will seem a warmer, friendlier place.

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2. Adopt an open, honest attitude and express yourself freely

Children speak their minds but this isn’t taken the wrong way because young children do not operate with malicious intent. They just express congruency between their inner world and their outer world. Freedom of expression starts to dwindle as we get older. Society conditions us to keep quiet and behave. In this way, we tend to lose a small part of our true character in an effort to fit in and be acceptable in society. By expressing yourself and resisting the urge to always be politically correct, you are honoring your childhood self. Speak your mind and be open in a positive way. Compliment others and spread goodwill. You’ll be making the world a better place.

3. Wear your heart on your sleeve

There is an innocence and a delicate trust that children show when they wear their hearts on their sleeves, yet they do it naturally. They will tell someone that they like them or that they would like to spend time with them. Adults who often fear rejection, hide their true intentions leading many interactions to resemble a guessing game. When we don’t trust the world, we focus on our suspicions and our thinking changes the way we interact with others. We treat others with caution and unwittingly change the whole dynamic of the social interaction by way of our behavior. Actively choose to see the good in others, learn to trust and people will more often than not meet that expectation in a positive way. When we give others the chance to help us or do the right thing, they will often oblige.

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4. Rediscover your curiosity about life, love and the ways of the world

Being inquisitive involves understanding that there is still so much to learn. We never stop learning no matter what age we are. Children constantly ask “Why?” and this is a habit that we tend to grow out of. Start asking yourself “why” instead of just accepting the status quo. Our childhood self had a hunger for knowledge that helped us grow and discover. You are never too old to learn and understand more. An active brain keeps the mind healthy and strong- it needs to be exercised, just like the rest of your body. Curiosity is a virtue.

5. Foster optimism about the future

Do you remember how excited you used to be just before Christmas? That feeling of intense joy and anticipation is hard to beat. Rekindle that childlike emotion by expecting good things in your future. As adults, we tend to be more cynical and almost expect disappointment but this can set us up for failure. Expect the best and try not to constantly imagine all the things that could go wrong. Imagine that the best is yet to come and trust that things will turn out okay. Even if they don’t turn out as you expected, deal with what comes your way without torturing yourself needlessly with negative anticipation.

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6. Dream big and imagine the impossible

How often have you heard a child say something like “One day, I am going to be an astronaut”. Our adult minds immediately scoff at this idea and think about all the logical reasons as to why this might never happen…financial restrictions, competition from others to find a job and so on. We employ self limiting beliefs without even realizing it and in the process.  We minimize our chances of attaining what we dream about. It’s okay to dream big just as our childhood self did. As the saying goes “you can’t score a goal if you aren’t on the playing field.”

7. Maintain a “can do” attitude

Most children tend to think positively rather than negatively. Once we become adults, our thinking tends to default to the negative. Our childhood self looked at possibilities. If we wanted to build a tree house, we would go about thinking about how to make it happen instead of focusing on all the reasons it might not happen. This is an important attitude to nurture. It can fill your life with possibilities rather than regrets.

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8. Be playful and silly sometimes

All work and no play makes a person very dull (and miserable!). Children spend a large amount of time escaping from reality to mess about and have fun. Make time for your childhood self to come out and play. Run around the garden, wear a silly hat or spend time laughing. All of these activities release endorphins – that ‘feel good’ hormone that makes us feel happy and alive. Life can be too serious sometimes so make sure to lighten your life up with a little fun.

9. Live in the moment

There’s a lot to be said for enjoying the present moment. Often, we’re either resentful about the past or worrying about the future. When we do this, we suck the enjoyment out of the present moment by not being fully present in the here and now.  As a child, life was lived as it played out – then and there. Your childhood self was present in the moment and enjoying everything that was happening around them as it happened. Your childhood self savored every moment and rarely worried about the past or the future. This is one of the keys to happiness.

10. No hidden agenda

What you see is what you get. Young children very rarely have a hidden agenda and your childhood self was no exception. That childlike innocence that is devoid of assumptions and prejudices. You still have this skill within you. See the world at face value, like a child would and you will enjoy a more peaceful existence. As adults we torture ourselves with ideas about what someone intended or why they behaved a certain way. Often, we will never know but we nevertheless agonize over situations and possible “what ifs.” When you take situations at face value, the innuendo and game playing goes over your head and cannot bother you.

We automatically assume that as adults, we are wiser than when we were children but there is a lot to learn from our childhood self. That raw, true element of our nature that lived life with no holds barred and worried less about outcomes, possessed wisdom. Reconnecting with your childhood self allows freedom and creativity to flourish. Approach the world with an open mind, judge less and laugh often and you will be on your way to rediscovering your childhood self.

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Mandy Kloppers

Mandy is a Psychologist/CBT therapist who believes getting through life is easier with a robust sense of humour.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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