All behavior is learned. As kids we’re carefree, letting our imaginations run wild. Then we grow up and restrict our behavior to fit into society, or so we believe. I was recently visiting someone with a three-year old. He gave me a stuffed Mickey Mouse and began talking in a different voice as his stuffed monkey. I spoke back in my normal voice and he immediately asked me to let Mickey speak. He had a gleam in his eye when he explained, “This is make believe so let’s play like they’re talking.” It was such a sweet and innocent statement but really got to me.

He knew it wasn’t real but was able to lose himself in making believe the two stuffed toys were conversing. I needed his reminder to let go to imagination and play his game. As we chatted with each other through the toys, I found myself relaxing and having fun. My imagination took over as I found things that Mickey would say to a monkey. He enjoyed it. I was amazed at the things his imagination helped him come up with. I felt a lighthearted when we finished.

Children use their imagination so easily. Adults tend to have more practical behavior. Yet imagination and wonder can feel good at any age. While I may use mine differently than I did as a child, I still like to use it. We can get very blasé about things around us. Whenever I interact with a child I’m reminded to look at my world through the eyes of a child, which means finding delight in simple things and appreciating everything around me.

I like to feel wonder in my surroundings, noticing new things with appreciation instead of just taking it all for granted. Kids don’t do that. If something is good, they like it, even if they’ve seen it many times. Little ones will watch the same cartoon show on TV over and over because they like it. Adults tend not to appreciate things that aren’t new. Children find things to laugh about just because. They don’t walk around worrying about what ifs or if they look good. They just want to have fun!

Adults become more inhibited as they get older. Kids freely explore whatever interests them and live with more abandon and often a fearless nature. We can really learn from kids. Next time you’re feeling down, go to a playground and watch how the kids play. Feel their energy and excitement with life. Remember when you were like that too. Then try to dig deep and recapture some of that spirit of childhood. It’s still there in your, even if it’s buried deep.

I’ve always said I’ll never completely grow up. I still love to get silly and laugh and even use my imagination to play around. That doesn’t make me immature. It does keep the childhood wonder I had growing up alive and kicking. While I wouldn’t just start talking to toys, I do still open my eyes wider to the wonders of life with the curiosity and appreciation of a child. It makes life feel better.
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Take the 31 Days of Self-Love Challenge–a pledge to do something loving for yourself for the next 31 days–and get my book, How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways for free at http://howdoiloveme.com. Read my 31 Days of Self-Love Posts from 2012 HERE.

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