Why Thinking Like a 5 Year-Old Could Make You Wiser

five year old wisdom

For just a minute, try to remember what it felt like to be five years old. The half-second lag at the top of the swings, the smell of fresh cut summer grass, the feeling of sand in every crevice of your swimsuit. As children, our sidewalk chalk drawings were Picasso’s and our bicycles were magic carpets. We colored the world with crayons, curiosity, and laughter.

Children possess a special kind of contagious optimism that carries them through their small lives. They are blissfully unfazed by the opinions of others. Through all the scraped knees and playground splinters, they continue to try new things and peak out at the world through a lens of joy. Their hearts are bigger, their blues are bluer, and their afternoons are longer. Can you remember how good it felt to be that full of wonder?

We grow wiser as we age, but along the way we also learn self-doubt, insecurity, and shame. It’s easy to assume that the child-like courage we once had has vanished completely by the time we become adults, but whenever we need to, we can consciously channel it. In moments of insecurity, it can be fun to touch base with your inner child and ask her what she thinks. If you let her speak, her answer to whatever you ask her will be compassionate, humorous, confident, and honest. In fact, I’m willing to bet that her proposed solution to your feelings of self-doubt will be to dance around the living room in a bold pair of polka-dot tights. Doesn’t that sound like more fun than wallowing in doubt?

 In moments of insecurity, it can be fun to touch base with your inner child and ask her what she thinks.

Most of the time, we are our own biggest critics. If you’re having a hard time celebrating yourself or feeling your worth, try talking to yourself the way you would talk to your five-year-old self. You would address a child with kindness, compassion, and gentleness, which is precisely how you deserve to be spoken to. Ask her: what does she want to do today? How is she feeling? Which flower is her favorite?

If we practice talking to ourselves in this way, our inner child can teach us a special kind of carefree self-love. Borrow her magical telescope so that you can see the world the way she does today. Take comfort in the idea that she is a part of who you are, and remember that you are pure perfection in her eyes. Let her show you how fun is the world around you. She has been there all along and she will be there whenever you need her, dancing in the living room and forever cheering you on.

What is one thing your five year-old self might tell you today?

Image via NXSH Images

An avid poet, convertible enthusiast, and self-proclaimed expert on all things avocado, Natalie’s life is primarily ruled by two guidelines: say yes as often as possible, and always order the cheese plate. After years of wandering, Natalie is in the process of making her nest on the sunny beaches of Los Angeles.

  • Madeline June 28, 2018

    I have an imaginative five year old sister (I am 17) who inspires me everyday to be curious and wild and creative and confident. This article was very well- written and I enjoyed reading something with a lot of ethical appeal that I have a strong connection to.

  • I wish I could embrace my inner child so easily! It’s true that as we grow, we get crowded by society. I’ve definitely grown a lot more pessimistic (I like to call it realistic). Sometimes I wish I was still as naive as I was when I was five! 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  • Sheyi July 15, 2016

    Thank you for writing this article! So inspiring!

  • Beautiful article. Thanks for sharing! There is something about children with their wonder and passion for life that is so inspiring to me. May we never lose sight of the inner child in us. x