By: Syntyche Smith
The not knowing of life can be paralyzing. Worrying about what others will think, combined with the fear of failure shuts you down and takes away your courage to try. The “What if” questions, followed by the string of negative thoughts, emotions, stress and the physical symptoms of stress threaten to suck your joy away like a rip tide pulling your happiness out to sea. You see, all of this doubting and negativity stands in the way of you living fully. This doubting and negativity stops you from going after those big and little things that you want in your life.
Right now you may feel that those things are completely out of reach, but I am writing today to let you know that where there is life, there is hope. And hope, no matter how small, is what keeps us going. Hope is that inner knowledge and trusting that hides in the core of our being, until we really need it to push us forward and let us know that everything is going to be ok. Hope is what we see when we look at a newborn baby, perfect, whole and beautiful, with all the potential in the world. It is the trust we see when we look at a toddler learning to walk and in a child coming to the consciousness of what it means to be alive. The excerpt below from Chantal Rilland’s “Un Big Bang Par Jour (One Big Bang per Day)” really speaks to our original, pre-adulthood, hope-filled, child-like, trusting state.
Criticizing yourself, doubting yourself and putting pressure on yourself is absolutely unnatural. You weren’t born this way.
When you were a child you were full of life, curiosity and enthusiasm. When you learnt to walk, each day, (step by step) you followed that urge to move around on your two (little) legs without asking yourself the least question.
You kept trying, over and over, tirelessly to reach your goal. And then, you were delighted to have reached it. (When you were learning to walk), you never said to yourself, “I’m not going to make it.” Nor did you think, “What if they laugh at me?”
Be at peace with yourself (all of you). Love yourself and dare to dare.
When I read that, I thought, “Wow, she’s right!” And I wondered, what would be different if I channeled the important aspects of my toddler self. The observations below came to mind.
- Toddlers are not afraid of failure. These daring little beings that harbor very little fear. They climb, roll, flip and jump with no hesitation. They may walk up to a strange dog to give it a hug or rearrange daddy’s briefcase without worrying about the consequences. If left unattended, they may paint the cat blue or slather themselves with an entire container of petroleum jelly. Bottom line: they take risks, and in doing so they learn about the world. For them, there is no such thing as failure, only learning and they trust that everything is going to be ok.
What is the risk that you are not taking? What are you afraid of? What would be different if you were not afraid to move forward?
- Toddlers are curious creatures. They explore the world openly and no question (or answer) is out-of-bounds. Since this whole “humaning” thing is kind of new to them, toddlers know that they do not have all the answers. They just want to know more about the world – the other creatures, people, animals, colours, things, sensations and experiences – around them. They are always asking, “How?” and “How come?” “When?” and “Why?” They may say, “Aunt Beth, how come you are so fat?” or “How come Uncle Kirks has a coconut head?” They are just becoming acquainted with their consciousness. And they want answers, now, trusting that the answers will come.
What do you need to be more curious about? What aspect of your life have you made assumptions about? Where are you lying to yourself?
- Toddlers don’t care about what their critics think. They don’t worry about being humiliated or others’ opinions of them. They are content with just being, and are comfortable in their own skin. Being this comfortable in their own skin makes toddlers fully expressed beings. They clap, dance and sing, again not caring what anyone thinks as they express themselves freely. Or they might cry and throw a tantrum, rolling all over the isles in the grocery store. What’s important here is that they live in the moment and don’t hold back, trusting that the world will not end if someone gets angry or becomes unhappy with them.
Where are you holding back in your life? What would you do differently if you didn’t care about what your critics had to say?
- Toddlers make it known when they want or need help. They never let pride get in the way of anything they want or need. This is not a suggestion to start throwing adult tantrums, but rather a big piece of advice to ask for help when you need it. Humans are relational beings, yet so many of us are too prideful to ask for help when we are facing difficult circumstances. Toddlers never make that mistake. They trust the people around them, making sure that they always get the support that they need.
Where are you lacking support in your life? Who can you ask for help? Make time this week to connect with someone that you trust, whether it’s a friend, counselor or coach and ask for help with whatever you are struggling with.
- Toddlers have a natural capacity to give and receive love. Today I listened to an interesting talk that argued that true greatness is only possible for people who are childlike. One of the points that the speaker made was that, except in cases where the child was abused, children assume that they will be loved. I know that the parents reading this can attest to this capacity to give and receive love. Most toddlers are cuddly little creatures. They ask for attention and regularly give and receive cuddles and kisses.
“What’s so important about love?” you may ask. In my opinion, it’s what we as humans were made to do. But to love and be loved requires us making ourselves vulnerable to rejection. Toddlers do not have a problem with this. They may make their little selves vulnerable all the time as they ask to be picked up, held and comforted. This observation made me wonder, “How did us adults get to a place where some of us don’t even think that we deserve love, affection and respect?” Some of us are so afraid of rejection that we can’t even look strangers in the eye. Yet, one of the biggest lesson that I learnt in the past two years is that vulnerability is beautiful. It is what has given me access to more depth, more authenticity and realness, more fulfillment and juiciness in my relationships. There is also a greater chance of getting hurt, but the risk is ohhh so worth it.
What would more vulnerability bring to your relationships? How would your life change if you were to regularly experience more loving interactions?
I don’t know what situation in your life is making you feel stuck, fearful, and anxious, but I know for a fact that most toddlers don’t have that problem. Take a moment today and think of how your life would change if you were able to approach your circumstances through the eyes of a toddler – with child-like faith so to speak. Let your fear be replaced with hope, as you find the voice within you that says, “Don’t worry, everything is going to be alright.”
I’d love to hear your comments and thoughts about what it would be like for you to have Toddler-Like Trust!
Translation from Day 22 in Chantal Rialland’s 1 Big Bang Par Jour, 365 conseils pour changer de vie!: Retrouver l’Assurance d’un Enfant, 22 Mars. Published in 2012.
About the Author:
Tyche Smith is the founder of Dare Personal Development Coaching where she helps creatives and spiritual seekers to live fully-expressed vibrant lives. Through writing, she helps to provoke thoughtful change and a connection to purpose. She is passionate about all things expressive and aside from coaching her clients to transform, she enjoys attending and performing at live music events.
Join the conversation on Facebook