Why is the mind of a child so vibrant? Children live in the present moment because everything is new to them; they take in each first-time sense and experience in all of its richness, and then continue forward without hesitation, constantly ready for what is next. Let’s explore Reconnecting with Your Inner Child: 5 Tips on Reclaiming Your Unique Personal Reality
Why go to bed when you can stay up and watch cartoons instead?
Why not wear mismatching socks because they look cool?
Deep down, we understand where the child is coming from: there is no real answer. Yet, we the beliefs that were passed unto you in the same fashion:
“Because I said so.”
“Sorry—life’s unfair. We can’t always get what we want.”
And consequently, as time progresses, the child is forced to conform to this socialization, stripping pieces of creativity and innocence one-by-one until that child turns into an adult, dulled by the pain. The present moment, now, is eternally perceived through a lens of social programming.
Mundanity sets in. And, before you know it, you find yourself stressed over the holidays, envious of the children happily and anxiously awaiting for Santa to arrive through the chimney Christmas Eve.
Free of most human knowledge, personal memories, and (likely) traumas, the young child solely exists within the present moment: sensing both the external and internal worlds without judgment or pre-conceived notions. They just are.
Our extraordinary senses of memory and capacity for intelligence are what have enabled us, as humans, to navigate and, ultimately, manipulate physical reality. Social progress stems from the discovery of universal laws and learning to work with them. However, the irony of this is that we inhabit a continually expanding, varying universe. There are identifiable patterns in phenomena, and yet, reality contains no true consistency.
The snowflake is a perfect entryway example into this concept: while each contains a completely different intricate icy structure, there are enough similarities in each one that we label its essence a “snowflake”. While the snowflake is an apparent example we commonly use to convey to children our uniquenesses as humans, this is the exact same process by which we categorize any physical form. As ‘real’ as universal laws and concrete objects seem to us, they are still but figments of the mind. And this is why we are able to calculate and develop a model of the ‘perfect square’, but no naturally-occurring object will ever hold that shape. Therefore, every person, place, and thing is really an ever-changing molecular synchronization with just enough consistency to emit the illusion of solidity. While essential for social progress, it is also this illusion of permanence that brings both a dullness to our everyday lives and an attachment to things outside ourselves.
The magic of life slowly diminishes throughout adolescence as we inherit the belief systems of our cultures. When we label objects, we are no longer seeing them for what they truly are, but for a concept that allows us to better recognize similar future phenomena. And this is imperative, again, for human evolvement when considering physical objects and naturally occurring phenomena. However, we can go our entire lives without ever questioning these labels and belief systems passed down to us. We’ve allowed the external world to shape how we perceive it, instead of making the conscious decision to construct the lens ourselves. This is harmful because we take on pre-generational pain as our own.
Here are five steps on reclaiming your unique power of perception, reminiscent of childhood:
Take in the present moment
Just as I mentioned about the snowflake: we’ve programmed ourselves to favor the general over the extraordinary complexity of reality. While, of course, patterns are useful in learning and making sense of the world, there is also value in periodically shoving them aside and perceiving the present moment as is, for it’s a reminder that, ultimately, most of what we
take for granted throughout our daily lives is merely illusion. An easy way to do this is to consciously take a minute—even just a few moments—of your day to pause the labeling and simply sense what is. For example, look around you: instead of seeing trees and buildings and birds, you’re simply seeing unique physical formations of varying colors and energies.
Find your own voice
Recognizing people and things for what they are in the present moment, stripping away relevant preconceptions, helps us to differentiate between how we truly feel about them and what we’ve learned according to past experiences and others’ teachings. And it is not necessary to know the reasoning why you believe a certain way, but to ask yourself:
Does this belief serve me? Does it ring true to me?
If the answer is ‘yes’, great!
If the answer is ‘no’, then you must determine what does feel right to you, for that inner truth is your truest guide.
Consciously choose your belief systems
You must continually check in with the emotions and sensations you experience in the present moment in order to bring to surface your unconscious thought patterns. You cannot merely take five minutes to meditate and ‘find your inner voice’ and suddenly live with the vibrancy of a child. This is a long-term practice. Just as you did not formulate your beliefs and acquire a wealth of knowledge in one day, you will not miraculously erase the habits that have been holding you back. Most of our thoughts and behaviors stem from the subconscious self. So, when we bring these thoughts and behaviors to the conscious level, we can bring light to them and being operating from our inner power.
How Did You Used to Be?
Are there any parts of you that you feel went ‘missing’ as you grew up? What were the things that brought you the most joy as a child, and what are some things you can do to bring this feeling back into your current reality? Perhaps it is riding your bike around the neighborhood, creating art, or playing sports. This could also look like bringing back your spontaneity or indulging in your playful sense of humor.
‘Change It Up’
Lastly, nothing takes away the magic of the present more than routine. While healthy to have a set an overall trajectory for your life, it is also equally important to cherish each moment as a unique opportunity. This may mean trying new coffee flavors each morning or taking new routes to work every so often. It may even mean changing the font of your emails just for the heck of it! Because, as cliche as it seems, we truly only do live once. Let’s experience all that we can while we can instead of allowing our past to hold us back.
Connect with Perspectives Therapy Services if you wish to explore this further.
Perspectives Therapy Services is a multi-site mental and relationship health practice with clinic locations in Brighton, Lansing, Highland and Fenton, Michigan. Our clinical teams include experienced, compassionate and creative therapists with backgrounds in psychology, marriage and family therapy, professional counseling, and social work. Additionally, we offer psychiatric care in the form of evaluations and medication management. Our practice prides itself on providing extraordinary care. We offer a customized matching process to prospective clients whereby an intake specialist carefully assesses which of our providers would be the very best fit for the incoming client. We treat a wide range of concerns that impact a person's mental health including depression, anxiety, relationship problems, grief, low self-worth, life transitions, and childhood and adolescent difficulties.