Have you ever thought about why young children seem so happy and carefree? Children tend to be fanciful and they have big, wide open minds that suck in everything around them — it’s wonderful.
Ahh, to be a kid again. When I was a child, I was amazed by almost everything I came upon. I marveled at the blue sky, I was filled with joy when I saw an Eagle flying over head and when I first saw the ocean, I was absolutely elated — children have something very special that we tend to lose as we grow older and that something special is a pure heart, open mind and sense of wonderment.
On most days, children wake up and immediately think about all the fun they can have. They think about playing games, maybe going to the zoo and about jumping, skipping, swimming and exploring. The child’s mind is like a a giant sponge soaking up all the new stimuli and beauty that the world has to offer — it is because of this, that children are much happier, more open, carefree and gregarious.
As we age however, we tend to lose much of our childhood innocence. School becomes less about finger painting and more about learning your multiplication tables and friends that you once frolicked with in the sandbox, now want to play a more competitive sport, like baseball. Basically, through conditioning, words, images and messaging, the world tells us that it’s time to grow up. After all, if the typical 12 year old were to ask their mom to read them a bedtime story, they’d get a pretty odd look, to say the least. But why do we do this…why do we seek to actively suppress and remove all traces of our childhood innocence? I mean of course I realize that the things we did when we were 4 aren’t appropriate when we’re 40, but why do we let the world take away our innocence and sense of wonderment?
Once we get to around 13 or so, we start hear about the “teen angst” years — that stretch of adolescence in which there is much change, stress and anxiety. Is this when we really turn the corner from happy-go-lucky to uptight and stressed? Does it have to happen this way, or are we conditioned by society to force this to happen along this pattern?
At what point do “adults” start to say “I just want to be happy?” I don’t know, but most adults invariably do. The question of “finding” happiness is actually a sad and frustrating one because the truth is, its really right in front of us. The quote “to become a happy person” from Norman Vincent Peale sums it up nicely:
“To become a happy person have a clean soul, eyes that see romance in the commonplace, a child’s heart, and spiritual simplicity.” — Norman Vincent Peale
I like this quote. But is it to “become” a happy person, or is it really better said to “stay” a happy person? I think its the latter — to stay a happy person, simply retain a clean soul, eyes that see romance in the commonplace, keep your heart free and open like a child and…have spiritual simplicity. And for me, “spiritual simplicity” is like the most beautiful epiphany.
So many of us don’t just lose our happy-go-lucky sense of wonderment as we get older, we also tend to lose our spiritual simplicity, both figuratively and literally. A child learns of their faith and is captivated by the stories and lessons taught — they embrace it with joy and wonderment. Do we see romance in the commonplace as we get older? Not really…but we should. We have to learn to retain that exuberance of youth and remember what it feels like to see something special and even magical in the commonplace. Believe it or not, this also ties into have a “clean soul” because if we see the awe and wonder in the commonplace and we keep our spiritual health clean, simple and full of joy, then haven’t we just discovered happiness?
People today are too complicated and agitated. We allow ourselves to not just grow up, but to grow closed. To be a happy person is relatively simple: be kind, see the positive, have a childlike heart and spirit and always try to see the best in people. We can’t continue to complain that we can’t “find” happiness, if we’re not willing to make some easy changes to have it. Today, make some of your priorities be to:
- Have a clean soul
- Have eyes that see romance in the commonplace
- Have a a child’s heart
- Have spiritual simplicity
You might just find that doing these 4 simple things, will let the happiness that is inside of you flow like a torrent of joy.