A few weeks ago, at our family cottage in northern Michigan, my nieces, nephew and their friends -- all little kids -- played in the sand for hours. They poured buckets of water into dug out holes and made mud puddles. Over and over, all five of them, exclaiming each time a new puddle was made, as if it were the first they had ever seen. What fun they were having!
You can learn so much about living a fulfilling life from kids. Especially from the kid you've known the best: yourself. All that time you spent as a child playing, creating, fighting and making up with friends can serve your adulthood in important, transformational ways.
Don't you sometimes wish you could be a kid again? Good news: You can.
You may be an adult now, but your inner child is alive and well within you, and it's got a lot of wisdom to share. Here are five habits, compliments of the kid inside, that will change your life in wonderful ways.
1. FORGIVE FAST
When I was a kid, my best friend Rachel was like a sister. We played together constantly, and we fought all the time. But we got over the fights quickly and then kept on playing. Kids move on from conflict easily. They don't tend to hold grudges and need long apologies. Without consciously realizing it, they're forgiving all the time, and fast. What a gift! Such freedom lives in forgiveness. Do you hold grudges? Do you struggle with forgiveness? If so, remember yourself as a child -- all the fights, and all the quick make ups. It is in you to forgive fast, and to move on.
2. HAVE FUN
Who has more fun than kids? Sure, they don't tend to have the pressures and responsibilities of adulthood. Even so, kids everywhere -- no matter their circumstances -- are always ready to have fun. With a stick. With a ball. With a wall. It doesn't take much more than a desire to play and have a good time. Like most everything, fun is a choice, an important choice for a fulfilling life. Are you making enough time for fun in your life? If not, find the time. Your inner kid is always ready to play!
3. CREATE FREELY
Kids don't think too much about their creativity. They just express it, and find so much joy in doing so. How many imaginary situations did you put your dolls through when you were younger? How much coloring did you do -- inside, outside and all over the lines? Children don't worry about being judged the way adults do. They follow their instincts and create whatever comes to their minds and hearts. Are you expressing your creativity? Doing so adds wonders to your life. You were a creative child. That creativity is still inside you. Don't hide it for fear of being judged. Share it with the world!
4. PURSUE THE YES
When you really wanted something as a kid, did you ever shut up about it? Did you take no for an answer? Not me. I'm not suggesting we all become adult brats, but there's a lot to be said for pursuing a yes, especially where your dreams and desires are concerned. Don't be so quick to settle for a no. Don't back down from going after your passions. As a kid, that passion might have been your favorite candy bar. Now, it's likely something much more worthwhile. Use the relentlessness of your inner child and pursue the yes in your life.
5. SPEAK THE TRUTH
Last year, one of my nieces studied my head for a few seconds and said, "You're really bald." She had a point. If you've been around kids in any capacity, you've probably heard them say some very funny, very truthful things. Children tend to say what they think, and without judgment most of the time. They're not yet programmed to hide their feelings and edge around their thoughts. Kids are honest. We adults could be more truthful too, never to intentionally hurt someone's feelings, but to connect with people in a deeper way. What are you holding back? How can you approach your life, and your relationships, more honestly? Call on your inner child to help you start sharing your truth.
Kids can be awesome. Adults too, especially those of us who allow ourselves to be kid-like some of the time. A lot of the time is even better! All of the ways you were as a child are still within you, are still there for you to call upon whenever you want. Your inner child just needs an invitation from your inner adult to come out and play. And play it will, leading you to a happier, more meaningful life along the way.
What other traits of your inner child have helped you lead a more fulfilling life?