By Teoh Chen Jun (23J12)
There is no smile more genuine and innocent than that of a child; their smiles do not conceal pain, hidden agendas or doubt in themselves. Their smiles only express pure joy.
As we age, our responsibilities increase and consequently, our stress levels do as well. Eventually, our smiles appear less frequently and are often tainted by stress and doubt.
While healthy amounts of stress are important to foster change and growth, we should be careful not to lose ourselves as we change, along with our innocent smiles and jubilant laughter.
Anya from Spy x Family
Changing our mindset:
Think back to when you were a child, when you had gone out donning your new Thomas the Train shirt, or a shirt with a print of whichever cartoon you preferred. What comes to mind? If you were to make the same decision now, just as you had in your early adolescence, would you hold a different opinion? When I asked myself this question, my answer was that I’d be embarrassed as I would fear the judgement of others. At this, a thought struck me. The Eight-year-old me didn’t care about what others thought, only focusing on himself, and whether his actions made him happy. At that moment, I realised that the 8 year-old me knew more about living than me.
Hence, I would like to urge all of you to do what makes you happy. And if people ridicule you for it, well, imitate the below action:
Luffy from one piece
Personally, I believe in leading by example, so I venture out of my house wearing my ‘Chopper’ hat to emphasise my point of not letting others’ judgement affect what you want to do. (Obviously, there is no need to go this far, this is but an exaggeration to prove my point.)
Some random guy embarrassing himself
More of this random person
Something else I realised while thinking back to my younger days was that I, somehow, hadn’t felt stressed or anxious, which is likely due to the fact the frontal lobe of my brain wasn’t developed enough to be able to process the consequences of my actions, and that's exactly the point.
As we grow older, we are able to accomplish marvellous feats; but we are also more prone to stress and anxiety which, at small amounts, can be healthy for growth. Unfortunately, most of us end up overthinking at some point or another and stress ourselves well past the healthy point. During these moments, we should remind ourselves not to take things too seriously, as nothing is more important than our own well-being. Relax your mind a little, let the inner child out, for they can see much clearer than us in our troubled state of mind.
A relatable image
Taking action towards this can be something as simple as doing something you used to enjoy as a kid, like playing catching, Uno or on the swing.
Kenma(best character) from haikyuu
It is natural to find it hard to suddenly change; doing these things can still be quite embarrassing, so start small, or do it together with friends. Remembering the joy of your childhood can take time but enjoying the process is part of the journey as well, so take your time to be comfortable with others’ opinions of you and not place so much weight on what others think or expect of you. Most importantly, enjoy your life.
I hope you all will have an eye-opening conversation with your younger self, and see life through a new lens. Do what makes you happy, and through the stress and challenges, emerge stronger but more importantly, happier. I hope to see more smiles and laughter around RV. :D