- Quality of Life & Wellness
Taking Back Our Innocence: Having the Naivety of Children to Go After Our Dreams
The Innocence of Children
I still remember the day my daughter asked if we could go out to the store because she was "dressed up and ready for the world". She was covered in paint from a recent art project and thought the colors were so beautiful that she wanted everyone to see them. This struck a chord with me because my grown up mind was automatically telling her we could NEVER go out in public with such a mess on our being. But she didn't see her appearance for its messiness but for its beauty.
I have not yet poisoned her with the sounds of the world. We do not have cable, we do not belong to any high society clubs, she attends daycare with kids from multiple economic and ethnic backgrounds, and she is exposed daily to various belief systems and lifestyles. The ideas coming into her head are about acceptance, love, and enjoying life by seeing the world around her. She is told daily how beautiful she is, how loved she is, and how special and unique she is. She is reminded of her potential, read stories of various rises to fame and falls from the tops. She is educated about different life choices, family compositions, and learning styles. Her world is rich in understanding that what makes one person beautiful can make another ugly. She believes in inner character and that if she shares her love with the world, it will make us all better people. No one has told her otherwise.
Do you still believe the things your parents may have said to you when you were a child? Do you still think you are a princess or super hero? Do you know how beautiful or handsome you are despite what the world may say? If you are like so many people around us, you do not. You have been damaged by society as you have grown and your crown became a mask, your costume became a shell, and your belief that you could become anything you set your mind to becoming became a memory repressed by years of being told otherwise.
I want to encourage you today to make an effort to find that little girl or boy within yourself. To believe again that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. To know you are beautiful even if you carry extra pounds, have disabilities or deformations, or do not look like today’s famous actresses and actors. To understand that no one can take away your dreams if you do not allow them to do so. I want to inspire you to believe in yourself and know all things are possible if you work hard, have faith in your abilities to complete the tasks ahead, and plan well.
How Our Innocense Dies
Unlike my daughter, many of us have have been told many negative things about our lives and ourselves. Our innocence has died. How many of you have heard the following statements?
↓ “You are so pretty. It makes up for what you lack in brains.”
↓ “Well, at least you are smart. It will compensate for what you lack in beauty.”
↓ “You have such a pretty/handsome face. If only you would lose weight you could find the right guy/girl.”
↓ “You should set your goals a little lower. I don’t want you to be disappointed.”
↓ “You will never be _____, so stop dreaming about it.”
↓ “Only rich people can travel the world. Think about what you can do locally.”
↓ “We have a family history of ______, so you will never break free from it.”
The list could continue, but you understand where I am going. We become poisoned when we hear these things. We stop believing and start getting by. We stop wanting to be President of the United States and settle for a desk job in the local insurance company. We stop aiming to be a famous actress or author and settle for being a cashier or waitress. We give up our dreams because of what we are told.
What if there was a way to dream again? To live fully and understand life is meant to live with innocence and belief in the impossible? What if we could think like children while acting like adults and being responsible in our planning? I believe it is possible. I am convicted that we can live responsible, productive lives while believing we are princesses and super heroes.
The Father's Love Letter: A Reminder of Who You Are
Reviving Our Innocence
Walk to the bathroom and look at your reflection in the mirror. I mean really look. What do you see? When it is just you and your reflection, what thoughts come to mind? Note them and come back to finish reading.
Take a moment to review your list. Did you write mostly positive or mostly negative remarks? This is telling of how you approach life, relationships, work, and family. If you look at yourself and believe you are not worthy of love, it becomes harder for you to provide love to others. If you see yourself as someone who is overweight and lazy, you are more likely to impress perfection upon your children and in your work. If you look at yourself and see someone who is resilient and has overcome obstacles, you are more likely to expect more from your children and not allow them to feel fully. What we see in ourselves we project into other areas of our lives.
To go back to innocence and believing in ourselves, we need to rid ourselves of all projections society has placed upon us. We need to believe that we are worthy of love, deserve respect, and can accomplish anything we put our mind to. Now, to ensure we are on the same page, I am not suggesting if you do not know how to play basketball that you will be drafted next season just because you put your mind to it. However, if you do not know how to play basketball, are a teenager, and sign up for lessons, then I believe you have time to become amazing by the time you are in college and then get drafted. I believe our dreams have to be realistic and in tune with our passions, abilities, and talents. Children have innocence because they have not yet been told things are impossible. Their world is open. They pick up a crayon and make a beautiful picture. They sculpt clay or sing songs. They do what they desire to do.
As adults we need to do the same thing. What is your dream? Write it down and figure out how you get from here to there. If you dream of becoming a CEO, talk with a CEO and find out what you need to do to go from the mailroom to the boardroom. If you dream of becoming a chef, talk with one to determine what schooling you need, how you can start preparing now, and where you should start looking to make this dream come true. If you dream of becoming an author or artist, start sharing your work online, join local community clubs, and get opinions from others about what you must improve. Do not allow your prior beliefs in what is or is not possible to stop you from getting information, determining a path forward and sticking to it.
Living in the Innocence
Once you have determined your path forward, you should start acting on it. Remember to believe in yourself and put your all into seeing this dream come true. When someone tells you that you are a dreamer, thank them. When someone tell you that you have lost your mind, agree. It is in losing our mind that we become better versions of ourselves. Our minds are what have stopped us this far from living life fully.
While you are going back to your roots and living in innocence, remember to be intelligent. Children act with naivety, not stupidity. They do not jump off 12-foot walls; they jump from 1-foot walls. They do not try to run before they walk. You can see this illustrated in a child learning to walk for the first time. One step, then another. Hands out in front of them. They fall and they get back up. This is how we should approach our revived innocence. Proceed with caution and enjoy the new vantage point you have. Look around you at how the world becomes friendlier, coworkers have good intentions, and promotions are possible. Enjoy that you are able to take time to smell the flowers, pick up that beautiful rock, or enjoy the sunset again.
It will not be easy to stay away from the negativity of life, but it is possible to filter it out. When someone says something negative to you, do not absorb it. Do not allow yourself to believe that you are not beautiful because so many actresses and models are thin and you are not. Do not allow yourself to accept that you will never be healthy because you do not know how to pick out vegetables or use gym equipment. Do now allow yourself to indulge in society’s belief that everything has to be fast and beautiful. Stand by your belief that you are a princess or super hero. Let others know they do not have permission to say negative things from you. Remove from your life all obstacles to positive living. It is possible to live a full life in which you accomplish great things and are everything you dream of becoming. Start today…what are you waiting for?
© 2012 Shell Vera