Innocence and open hearts
Words by Abby Paterson
Nominated by Gemma Grainger
What happens to make us lose the purity of our childhood innocence?
When did I lose my open heart and when was I last free from guilt? When I think of innocence sometimes I think of loss, I wonder when did I lose my innocence? I wonder have my teenage daughters already lost their innocence? They don’t seem so innocent in some of their actions and behaviours like their screaming, shouting, lying and stealing. What happens to make us lose the purity of our childhood innocence? I remember being young and playing freely and enjoying each and every day. I also vividly remember those days of my daughters, them as young girls, playing happily, innocent in heart and mind and free from guilt. Days being lost in the moment and playing for hours, carefree and with no indication of time passing. My current approach to life thesedays is extremely different in comparison to the above memories, which makes me wonder, how can I get more of that innocence back now as an adult? My lack of innocence instead has been replaced by guilt. It has also been a long time since I felt free from guilt. My guilty mantra always starts with something like ...I am not a good enough mum, I spend no time with my partner, I’m not engaged enough as a step-parent, I haven’t done enough for clients, I haven’t paid the bills yet, I have eaten terribly, I have not met my exercise goals, I should have given my colleagues more time, I haven’t been in touch with parents, brother, friends, family, and then to top it off, I feel guilty that I am not sleeping well, which is really no surprise!
For each guilt-ridden negative thought or script which does appear I’m trying instead to list a positive and be kind and open-hearted towards myself.
It’s hard being a mum especially when you see some of your worst traits staring back at you in your children. I now watch my eldest starting to adopt a guilt framed mindset about almost everything. When I see this guilt appearing I realise I need to help her navigate a better response and for that to happen I must help myself first and demonstrate a different approach. My guilty mantra is tiring and actually ever so pointless, it serves no useful purpose and finally, enough is enough. It’s time to reframe and celebrate the positives, reinvigorate that innocence in both myself and my daughters, so for each guilt-ridden negative thought or script which does appear I’m trying instead to list a positive and be kind and open-hearted towards myself. I am hoing that this new approach can help me adopt an innocent mindset and hopefully demonstrate a better path for my daughters. An innocent and open-hearted and open-minded approach to life can also help us to have more fun, remind us to enjoy each moment and take back more time to just play, drift or be, as we all did when we were younger, whether it's riding a bike, being outside and enjoying nature, exploring new places or even trying new things. I can still see the girls innocence even as teenagers, it’s in their eyes, the way they are open-hearted to new experiences and people, the way they sing, hug, dance, play around and are so passionate about their beliefs. Their hearts may have been hurt already along the way and they may scream and shout but there are still snippets of sunshine, moments which show me their innocence is not yet lost. Watching these moments makes being a mum hugely rewarding and I am grateful for all they have given and taught me along the way. So for all of us wishing to get back more of that childhood innocence in life, try to practice being free from pointless internal guilt scripts, approach life playfully and enjoy living a little more open-heartedly in each and every moment.
Proud mum, part time runner and Learning Solution Consultant passionate about designing personal and professional development programmes.
Abby Paterson nominates Sara Fox
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