Children are so honest.
When they are happy, they smile and laugh. Their eyes are bright and their affection quickly bestowed. They reach out and touch you -- cling to you. There's an easiness about them.
When they are sad, they cry. They don't hold back. They wail and tears flow freely down their soft cheeks. They curl up and pull away.
And when they don't want to do something, they express that disdain very clearly. They scream. They howl. They run from you or push away. And the words they use are genuine and spoken from their very core: "I don't wanna ..."
Perhaps it's I don't wanna eat that or do that or go there or play with them or wear those clothes or clean my room or do my homework ... The specific is irrelevant. They just tell it like it is and their emotions play on their faces like a movie. They are Real. They are Honest.
As they grow up, though, they learn to don the facade. To behave as expected. To curb those emotions and spin the truth of their feelings. They learn to lie. They hide their genuine feelings or desires or preferences deep inside. We "grown-ups" teach them that ... we teach them to disguise their own truths and twist words.
Oh, we do that kindly ... Don't want to offend or hurt someone's feelings. Don't want to rock the boat. You want to play nice and go with the flow. You want people to like you. You want to get along.
I'm not talking being considerate or showing courtesy. And I'm not suggesting we give into complete self-indulgence. (At least not ALL the time.) No, I'm just wondering when we learned to water down our impulses and hide our genuine feelings and dreams. When did we accept that it's better to say what someone out there defined as "the right thing," following some pre-written script because that's what others said we should do? When did we set aside the honest child-like essence of who we truly are for the person others expect and want us to be? And when did we teach our children to model that behavior until they too begin to follow the flow chart?
What would happen, do you think, if for a day we recalled the honesty of childhood? What if for a moment we removed the facade we've learned to wear and allowed our true self to shine? What would the result be, if the truth would out? Would people not like us if they truly knew us?
And if that is the case ... Do you want that person to like you because you are someone else? Do you really want them if they don't love you for who you truly are and how you truly feel?
Maybe it's the three years of yoga in me, but on my mat I've learned how important it is to honor who I truly am -- shiny pretty aspects and darker corners that I tend to hide away. I've learned to find strength through the rough moments and push through when I can ... or go to child's pose when it's just too much. I've cried on my mat and I've smiled too. I've learned to offer my best and let go of the rest. I've become more at ease with myself. And every day I try to share those discoveries with my kids so they honor who they really are ...
But most of us don't. We present the facade. We say what we know people want to hear. We wear a mask.
You know something, I don't wanna do a lot of things that I end up doing. I have responsibilities. Certain behaviors and choices and actions are expected of me. And I don't want to let people down. I don't want to disappoint. I don't want to upset the status quo.
If I removed the facade and was truly honest ... if like that child crying at the store because they don't wanna be there ... what would happen? Would I offend? Or would I just be more real. More myself.
Oh, I'm not talking being unkind. Children aren't unkind. They aren't truly selfish because they don't understand that yet. They are just who they are before we tell them to become something different.
I don't wanna clean the house today. I don't wanna make dinner. I don't wanna plan meals this week or go to the grocery store. I don't wanna stay quiet when someone has upset me. I don't wanna walk away from the things I really wanna do and the people I wanna do them with. I don't wanna lose people and things that I care for ... that I want. I don't wanna ...
But I'm not a child anymore. So I put away those childish ways. And I stick to the status quo and tow the line. I smile and nod when inside I might want to scream. I wander the grocery store aisle list in hand when I'd rather get that manicure and pedicure ... when I'd rather spend my money on that dress or the Pandora bead I saw in the window.
The Rolling Stones sang "You Can't Always Get What You Want." As young children, you don't know that yet. So you scream when you are unhappy. You laugh when you feel joy. You reach out with sticky fingers and cling to that person you love with wild, unbridled abandoned. And you tell anyone who will listen what you don't want to do.
When did we decide the facade is the better way to go?
I don't wanna .... And when I end up doing that thing I don't wanna do anyway, a part of me ... that little girl inside of me ... screams and throws a tantrum.
You just don't see that.