Posted by: faultlessfinish | August 8, 2011

Lessons From a Two-Year-Old

Over the weekend, I had the privilege of spending time with my wonderful (seriously) extended family. My family is made up of some of the coolest people on the planet – not that I’m biased or anything.  I also got to meet my two-year-old cousin Pacey for the first time, and watching her gave me some new insights into the way we deal with the unpleasant things life throws our way.

I don’t remember exactly what set her off, but I think it had something to do with not wanting a particular kind of juice. She proceeded to scream “No!” and threw her glass across the room. You can imagine how her mother reacted. And then the temper tantrum ensued. For five straight minutes, you couldn’t hear anything above her powerful voice (really quite amazing for such a tiny person). I turned to my mom, who was sitting next to me, and said, “What do you think prompts kids to throw temper tantrums like this? Surely it’s not just about the juice.”

“Frustration, I’m guessing,” said my mom. “I think that kids know what they want but don’t yet have the ability to communicate it to the people around them, so they lash out, unable to express themselves rationally.” Wise words. As we get older, we learn a variety of ways to express ourselves, but yet, the older we get, the more we tend to repress how we’re really feeling in order to avoid certain unpleasant consequences – anger from others, isolation, heartbreak, vulnerability . . . I could go on and on.

I think we could really learn a lesson from children though. Kids throw temper tantrums, have a time-out, and then happily rejoin society again, barely remembering why they were upset. This sounds a lot better than holding everything in until it makes us sick or causes a breakdown.  Now, I’m not suggesting that we should scream and kick when things don’t go our way, but what’s wrong with telling people what we want and how we feel?

As adults, we need to be grateful for our ability to express ourselves and use this gift to the fullest. We may have to deal with some unwanted consequences, but we can always take that time-out and then come back into society, more self-aware and ready to move forward.

Namaste 🙂

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