Babies really are such incredible teachers. We can learn so much from them just by observing them. Small humans experiencing the pure innocence of life through brand new, untainted eyes; the little things we, as adults, often overlook after a lifetime of tarnished vision.
So, I thought I would share with you a few things I think we can all bring into our everyday lives and improve our state of mind, from observation of some of the smallest (and stickiest) yet wisest beings on the planet…
Believe in yourself and keep going
Amélie is 9 and a half months old now and believes she can do anything. Whilst at times this is horrendously stressful and usually dangerous, there is a certain fearlessness that is fiercely empowering. Of course there needs to be a balance and we as parents are here to ensure they come to no harm, but the courage a child holds is something I think many of us lose overtime. Amélie is learning to walk currently, she falls over A LOT (no really, it’s a lot), but she gets back up and tries again and again and again. She has fallen countless times, but she believes in herself and keeps going and that determination is something I admire – where failure is not an option.
Most skills worth having in life take time to develop and master so it’s important to keep going with whatever it is you want to do and not give up.
Express your emotions truthfully
There’s no bullshit with babies. If they’re upset, they’ll let you know, if they’re angry, they’ll sure as hell tell you. I think the most important thing we can take from that is there’s never any need to suppress your emotions. I’m not suggesting we all start throwing dummies at people’s heads or screaming blue murder in the middle of a supermarket when life hands you the equivalent of a dirty nappy (physically or metaphorically), but by communicating our emotions effectively and freely, by letting others know when we are having a tough time, we would all live much happier lives.
LAUGH every day
Its important to let the good times roll as well. There is nothing in the world more soul-warmingly fuzzy than the sound of a baby laughing and they manage to find joy in everything around them. Make an effort to weave laughter into your day, make time to speak to that someone that makes you smile or watch a video that gives you the LOLz. Smiling is a contagious epidemic we can definitely afford to spread.
Forgiveness is key to happiness
Babies forgive and forget freely. As a parent you may feel guilty after losing your cool and getting all shouty during a particularly difficult moment (imagine yourself perhaps trying to change the nappy of a fire-hose on full-power and the stressful poo-spread that ensues) but babies forgive, forget and move on, free from hate or grudges. A bad moment doesn’t have to make a bad day. Remove the bitterness and resentment from your life, forgive others (and yourself) and enjoy the happiness that follows.
Be carefree and live life to the fullest
We seem to spend our lives chasing happiness, searching for meaning and for balance. Babies wake up every morning fresh with excitement and enthusiasm for the new day ahead. A new day means new opportunities to learn new things, explore new adventures and a chance to embrace life and all it has to offer with open arms. The moment we let go of all of our fears, regrets and doubts is the moment we can be free.
Whilst sticking your fingers in plug sockets and eating dust-balls isn’t highly recommended, continuing to make an effort to learn new things and take part in new experiences certainly is.
Babies don’t need expensive toys, high-end fancypants clothes or nappies lined with gold to be happy. They are contented in the arms of a loved one, being talked to, played with, swung around (gently). They don’t need fancy frills and nor do we, not really. More often than not, the most popular toys in our house are ones that you could probably find at the bottom of a bin and the most fun we have is making shadow puppets on the wall or crawling around under a table. Sometimes in life we need to remember the things that really do matter, put down our phones, our distractions aside and focus on the little things.
Everyone is equal
Babies make friends with everyone; the scruffy women behind you in the post office queue, the barky dog next door, the angry looking swan at the park. There is no filter, no reservations, no excuses. They accept everyone and everything without judgement or discrimination, and that’s definitely a lesson that’s worth learning.
Listen to your body
Eat when you’re hungry. Sleep when you’re tired. Sounds simple, but unfortunately we have a habit of over-complicating our lives. It’s important to pay attention to your body’s cues as there is nothing more fundamentally important than addressing our basic human needs. When these needs are met, as a baby will show you, life can be simply and blissfully happy.
Don’t worry about tomorrow (or yesterday)
Why worry about something that hasn’t happened? As adults, we have a terrible tendency of living in the past or focusing on our fears about the future. Whereas babies are committed to the moment, the world of regret or nostalgia is non-existent. As cheesy as it sounds, there is no greater gift than the present, perhaps we can all take a leaf from the baby book of life and live in the magic of the present a little more. (Even if that ‘present’ is seeing how hard they can pull their mum’s hair before she cries)
So all the while we’re worrying about the things we should (and shouldn’t) be teaching these small mysterious creatures, perhaps we can take a step back and see what they can in fact teach us.