Do you remember the last time you were silly?
I don't mean the kind of silly that happens after having one or two too many adult beverages (although that can be rather fun) - in this instance I'm talking about those moments where you laugh and play, just like you did when you were a kid, completely free from any fear of judgement from others, or better yet - free of judgement from yourself. Without assistance from any liquid courage.
Like making funny faces at yourself in the mirror (see activity #18 in retreat yourself 101), or having a little one-person dance party (see activity #5 in retreat yourself 101), or even playing a ridiculous game like the balloon walk (see activity #34 in retreat yourself 101).
I know I don't do it often enough.
This weekend I was genuinely kid-like silly for the first time in a very long time, and it was amazing. We set up a backyard sports/round robin type event which had me hula hooping with less coordination than a baby giraffe. Did I care what I looked like? No. Did that simple plastic hoop bring me fits of laughter? Absolutely.
So why don't I let myself be silly more often?
Adulting seems so serious. I figured maybe you're feeling like you're in the same boat - so, I decided to share some of my thoughts below...
“See the world through the eyes of your inner child. The eyes that sparkle in awe and amazement as they see love, magic and mystery in the most ordinary things.” - Henna Sohail
Simply clapping, waving or making silly faces is all it takes for a baby to squeal with glee and giggle deliriously - but it seems a little ludicrous as an adult doesn't it?
We’re all born with a natural ability to find pure joy in simplicity. But we got lost somewhere along the way, and this ability started to feel unnatural.
I remember being a toddler at the beach, shouting in awe as the shallow waves crashed against my legs. I remember searching the rock pools with mum and dad for shells, delighting in the beauty of the different patterns, colours, textures, shapes and sizes. I remember feeling such happiness and pride when playing in the sand, digging holes and building sandcastles - with no embarrassment or shame that they were far from perfect
At what point did we lose the ability to find so much joy in the little things?
Was it in our rush to grow up? Did we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life? Was it the fear of judgement from others? Our own internal fear of being anything but 'perfect' and 'polished'? Did the crappy stuff we’ve been through make us too cynical?
Being able to feel such delight in the ordinary has become so unfamiliar to most adults that it seems almost impossible to fathom. We’ve forgotten how to do it.
But I think we can learn again, or perhaps, try and 'unlearn' the damaging behaviours and beliefs that we’ve been telling ourselves as we 'grew up.'
So, as of now, I’m making a promise to myself - a promise to try and see again like my inner child.
Ditch fear of judgement
Try new things
Live in the present moment
Find beauty, wonder and joy in the little things
I'd love to hear your thoughts. Do you find time for the silly stuff? Are you able to find joy in the ordinary little things?
Perhaps it's now more important than ever we re-discover how to connect with our inner child. Amongst all of the negativity, the overwhelming news cycle, the uncertainty we face and the mental exhaustion of a global crisis - I think it's going to be so important we find time to be a little silly.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.