Most people begin their lives knowing exactly who they are and what they want. It’s only when they start to factor in their surrounds and the opinions of others that they begin to doubt, and forget.
When most people speak of childhood, with the exception of those who dealt with extreme abuse or poverty, it is usually in very idyllic tones. Folks wax poetic about the wonder and joy of childhood, but what is it that actually made that time so radically different than adulthood? For all intents and purposes, our adult lives should be better, since we have more freedom and control over how we spend our time. But many adults don’t feel free in their lives at all. In fact, they feel practically hostage to life and are simply going along for the ride rather than taking an active role in their own lives.
If you have ever had the privilege of speaking to a happy, curious, small child, you would have probably been speaking to someone with big dreams, very specific interests or hobbies, and all the confidence in the world in themselves. For these children, it doesn’t matter that they are young, little, aren’t book smart yet, or even that no one has ever done what it is that they want to do and be when they grow up. What they want is what they want, and they’re completely convinced that they’re going to get it. At least, that’s the case until an adult in their lives, usually a parent or teacher, comes along to tell them they can’t, won’t, or shouldn’t.
One of the biggest blockages standing between some of my clients and happiness is the belief that what they want out of life, the thing that would bring them the most fulfillment and joy, is completely unattainable. If you ask most adults “Who are you?”, they’d probably answer with their marital status or job title. But what is it that makes you excited to wake up in the morning? What brings you the greatest joy? When you were young and hopeful, how did you imagine spending your existence and contributing to the world? It’s only when we step back from adult survival mode, drown out the noise of others’ expectation, and peel back the layers of self-doubt that we can truly start to answer these questions.