When the movie “Unicorn Store” came out last year, there was a remarkable outpouring of friends and even distant acquaintances who reached out to be sure that this movie was on my “must watch” radar. And I quickly found a quiet night to turn on Netflix, grab the popcorn and settle in amongst my array of fluffy, pink unicorn pillows for what could only be a magical movie!
Brie Larson’s sweet but tortured character was relatable to me in more ways than one. A Fine Arts student myself in the ‘90s, I too was in a fog of gloom, feeling the pressure to conform to my parents’ expectations and rebelling rigorously against them with all my sparkly, unicorn might. I remember promising myself at a very young age to never lose my child-self. I would never forget how to play, I would always stay free at heart, and I would continue to have outlandish childlike fun in whatever form that took to make me feel the most alive and happy.
The majority of adults around me seemed anything but happy. It was like they lost their “joie de vivre” somewhere along the way in life and settled into an unfulfilling, donkey-ass existence that was devoid from the beauty and joy of childhood. It was obvious to me that they weren’t really living life at all but, rather, LIFE was LIVING them! This was true of all the adults I knew except for ONE! His name was Gary. He was the biggest, chubbiest and most hilarious man-child you could ever know. He was also kind of strange (but not in a bad way), and he loved to tease and pull pranks of every variety, although he didn’t have a mean bone in his body. He was a gentle giant who was kind and silly, and because of him I knew it was possible to stay connected to one’s inner child. So, I was determined to hang on to that innocent, fun-loving, precious piece within myself! And when the grinch would come along to steal my inner child away, pushing me mercilessly into the sadness and drudgery of adulthood, I would be spared.
And so, like Brie Larson, I managed to safely preserve my childlike mind and heart, and carry them with me into the chaotic world of adulthood. But, let’s be honest, this is both a blessing and a curse. Most adults unknowingly and unsuspectingly lost their inner child long, long ago. And, as such, they don’t always take kindly to those who walk through life continuing to hold the hand of their younger self. You can expect to get criticized, judged and completely misunderstood when you don’t conform to the tight, strict boundaries within the square-walled box of adulthood – and the ensuing societal expectations that seemingly come with that.
But, on the flip side, you find yourself able to go through life in a secret world full of magic and freedom known to so few. In this world, rainbows are bright, unicorns are real and love beams happen to find you on even the toughest days when you’re expected to be “adulting”.
So, for anyone who wishes to be reconnected with the inner child they lost long, long ago, I came across a great article to help you find your way back. Here are 10 magical “Unicorn Store” lessons that will help you connect to what really matters and soften the tough edges of adult life. Try even just a couple of these tips and you’ll be that much closer to freedom, and the lovable inner child that you once knew. Go on now… I DOUBLE DOG DARE YOU!!
1. Don’t lose the magic you were born with
We tend to drop the elaborate imagination we’re born with as we’re pushed into age brackets that limit expression. Don’t hide your true self from the world, especially if you feel like an outsider. There’s more of you than you think, it’s just that the insiders want so badly to be surrounded that they adapt and conform, making it feel like you fall outside of the majority. Don’t forget your sparkle in a world that tells you to tone it down. Shine what you find dull and make it bright. Bring your magic wherever you go.
2. Believe what you believe
Believe in whatever you believe in because you, and only you, feel that it’s right. Believe what you want to trust instead of what you think you’re supposed to accept as true. Believe in what isn’t popular and stay loyal to your passions because they will lead you to a nourishing environment.
3. Stop caring about what everyone else is doing
Imitation is a disgrace to your uniqueness. Don’t let failure or impatience push you to conform to what you think you’re supposed to do. Stop worrying about disappointing people because the only person you should be trying to please is yourself. Bring yourself with you everywhere. Make art when sparked. Sing when you have something to say. Dance if you hear music. Focusing on others takes away focus on yourself.
4. Lead with love
Hatred and negativity hold you back and push you down. Love just who you are and love those around you. When you let go of negativity, you start to see things you weren’t able to see before that were there the entire time.
5. Every person alive has a dream
We all have creativity, it’s just that not everyone uses it. Dream the ideas that seem impossible. At the very least, allow your mind to travel to the places unimaginable or unattainable. Let yourself play out the best-case scenario you come up with.
6. The most grownup thing you can do is fail at things you care about
After Kit is asked to give a presentation at work, she presents a colourful and sparkly masterpiece that ultimately gets turned down, and she loses her job. But that job wasn’t for her and there is a place where her pizzazz is the perfect amount needed. We all fail, and it’s a hard lesson to learn, but failure is a gift. Accept failure as a reward and bring it with you into what comes next. Failure provides knowledge that’ll drive you to success. Keep trying, keep failing and success will follow.
7. Grownups aren’t always grown up
Age is but a number that makes it easier for us to group individuals rather than actual behavior. Adults don’t necessarily make decisions to match the assumption attached to their age because they’re human. We’re all human and acting our age can sometimes be just that, an act. Stay at your own pace and your timeline will be unique to you.
8. Don’t focus on what you can or can’t do, focus on what you want to do
Breathe life into your dreams and make every effort to keep them alive. Focus on your talents that’ll reveal additional pathways and open doors waiting for you to walk through. Focus on the positive and positivity will multiply. Explore things you love until you’re doing things you love.
9. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Everyone needs help, but not everyone can ask for it. Knowing when to ask for help from others is a strength that allows you to pay that support forward.
10. Accept yourself first and others will follow
When you accept yourself, your actions come naturally and a bright energy will become clearly presented. This energy invites the kind of people that will not only accept you, but will also understand you.