Don’t Allow Others to Dull Your Sparkle
I went to the movies the other day and while I was standing in the lobby waiting to buy a ticket a woman walked in with 2 young girls who looked to be about 7 years old. As soon as I saw 1 of the girls, I couldn’t help but smile and chuckle to myself. She was wearing a headband that had a shiny, silver unicorn horn attached to it. I thought, “Wow, good for her, for not caring what people would think.” Then my next thought was, “At what point in our lives did we start allowing the opinion of others to change how we wanted to be and what we wanted to do?”
So, it got me to thinking about what other lessons we could learn from children.
They Let Their Minds Wander.
Give a child a cardboard box, and you’ll get hours of uninterrupted make-believe fun. By letting their imaginations run wild, kids exhibit true creativity. Thankfully, adults can do the same—and they don’t even need a particular talent, some researchers say— as long as they’re open to a new experience and can stick to the task at hand. Fun fact: it works in reverse, too. Just as much as being creative gives people a greater sense of purpose and leads to overall life satisfaction, being happy helps people to be more curious, expressive, and ultimately creative.
They Say What They Mean.
Kids are honest … to a fault. They’ll tell you if they don’t like your shirt, if they don’t like the food you cooked or if that story you are telling is boring. Meanwhile, adults tend to tell white lies—an average of 11 per week—to save another’s feelings or avoid awkward interactions. University researchers, following a 10-week polygraph-based experiment in 2012, found that those who told fewer lies reported improvements in their close personal relationships. How to avoid mistruths? Stop making false excuses, answering a troubling question with another question, laughing off uncomfortable conversations, or simply changing the subject, and address the tough stuff head on. Your relationships will be stronger for it.
They Aren’t Afraid To Cry.
Turns out, being a crybaby is a good thing. Following more than 15 years of study, tear researchers have discovered that crying is not only a human response to frustration or sorrow, but it’s also a healthy one. Crying lowers blood pressure and decreases the amount of stress hormones present in the body. Before you put on a stoic exterior, remember that waterworks actually works wonders.
Ask a kid what they want to do right now, and they’ll shout the first thing that comes to mind, whether it’s to ride their bike or go to outer space. It might not make sense, sure, but when faced with an abundance of options, they weren’t paralyzed with indecision. Nowadays, committing to a simple choice can be debilitating … and a common roadblock to happiness. Based on a psychology researcher’s findings, “satisfiers”—those who opt to make a good-enough choice rather than agonize over what the “best” one is—have less anxiety and more emotional stability than “maximizers” who weigh every possibility thoroughly before coming to a conclusion.
They Seek Out New Experiences.
Kids don’t worry about coloring in between the lines, and they’re often eager to play new games or meet new friends. In short, they are novelty-seekers, a character trait that drops by half throughout adulthood. According to a recent university-developed personality test, how much a person values novel experiences is a crucial predictor of well-being.
And lastly and most importantly, THEY DON’T CARE WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK OF THEM …
So, the next time you want to go out in public and wear that shiny unicorn horn headband, just do it! Don’t dull your sparkle because you’re afraid of what other people will think.
Lynda Adams is the Marketing Director for ELM Maine magazine and the host of the weekly talk show, Living Life with Lynda, airing Sundays at 11am on WLOB, 100.5FM and streaming online at WLOBradio.com. Visit her show website at www.successfulbalancedliving.com and sign up to receive updates on future guests and fun health tips. Lynda is always looking for guests for her show as well as sponsors & advertisers. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.