6 Life Lessons We Can Learn From Toddlers

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I recently had the privilege of observing a child play while I was on my lunch break from an internship. As I watched this child, I realized that children are brilliant and we all need to learn a few lessons from them.  Here are 6 reasons babies are winning at life:

1. They smile for no reason.

Little ones love to smile.  They smile at their parents, at their friends, at strangers, at anyone.  The little boy I saw while on my lunch break couldn’t stop smiling and laughing at everyone he encountered.  This child singlehandedly brightened my day, just by looking at me and smiling.  It wasn’t creepy; it wasn’t intrusive. It was kind and it made me smile.  It was contagious.  If adults did this, the whole world would be a tiny bit happier.

2. They use their bodies perfectly.

No hunching.  No tension. Babies have perfect posture, and it’s effortless.  They also seem to be naturally active and full of energy.  Adults hunch and have tension without even knowing it.  Some of this just comes with old age, but a lot of it is because we are slumping over our computers or phones all day.  Babies are also active and love to run around outside; unlike adults who love to work, eat, and play inside, all while sitting down.

3. They aren’t ashamed of their emotions.

Babies throw tantrums.   Their fits of emotions are mostly irrational (dropping a toy isn’t the end of the world), but their episodes are still a lesson in letting out your feelings.    Adults love to bottle up emotions.  We love to pretend we’re “fine.” We love to harbor feelings of resentment instead of just getting them out of our system when those feelings arise.  If we had tantrums like babies, we would gain peace of mind and honesty within our relationships.  I don’t mean we should scream and stomp our feet until we get our way.  I think we should simply learn to express emotions without feeling the need to be embarrassed of them.

4. They don’t shy away from being messy.

For children, this usually means coloring outside the lines.  For adults, I think this means letting go of the fear of imperfections or failures.  It’s okay to mess up.  It’s okay to completely fail, because let’s remember that there are no real failures, but only stepping-stones to greater success.

5. They love making new friends.

Babies have no qualms about walking up to a fellow baby they have never met and becoming friends.  The child I watched during my lunch would’ve played with any stranger, had they lifted their heads from their phones.  We all know that social media is great but it is also kind of destroying our chance at being social in real life.  It can be difficult to make friends with people out in the world.  It can be uncomfortable and awkward and it may totally backfire, but I think it’s worthwhile to consider the tactic toddlers take and simply smile at a stranger.

6. They aren’t afraid to get hurt.

For children, I mean this in a physical sense.  Kids can be little daredevils because they don’t always understand the consequences of their actions. Babies will run around like crazy and not even think about the fact that they might trip until they do.  Once they trip they cry and wait for Mom or Dad to help them up, but after awhile they go right back to running around as if they had never fallen in the first place.  If adults took this mentality into their emotional life, we could have much more fulfilling lives that aren’t dominated by fear.

I understand that this child I observed may have been particularly extroverted compared to other babies, but I think all children can teach us a lesson in being true to ourselves.  We were all babies at some point.  We all smiled and used our spines correctly and cried and got messy and got social and got hurt. So what happened?  As we grow older we learn shame and we learn to hide and become some other version of ourselves, but not the true one.  If we could all bring a little of that childlike energy back into our lives, I’m convinced we would all be happier and feel more fulfilled. TC mark

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