I was driving my daughter to school the other day, and she asked if I would roll her window down. She asks for this quite a bit, and usually I say no. Generally, my reason is something like it’s too noisy, or too hot, or that it’s raining. Not great reasons. I guess I just prefer that we keep the windows up.
But that day, I said sure, and rolled down her window. Then I got curious: “Why do you like your window rolled down?”
I Just Like It
“I just like it,” she responded.
It was a simple response, but I thought it was interesting. Here’s why: My daughter didn’t have an intellectual reason for why she liked her window rolled down—she just liked it. She was in touch with what she liked, and she didn’t need a bunch of reasons to support or justify it. She just liked it.
I think this is one of the beautiful things about children. They are in touch with their likes, dislikes, wants, feelings, and emotions. There isn’t a lot of baggage or socio-cultural programming that muddies the waters. They just like what they like, and that’s that.
For me, things are more complicated. Sure, I have likes and dislikes, but sometimes I struggle to figure out whether I truly like something in and of itself, or whether it is related to some sort of rule or expectation I am setting for myself. For example, do I truly like psychology, or did I go into the field for some other reason (e.g., my parents are counselors, or it provides a comfortable lifestyle)? Another example: At different points in my life, I have wanted to make more money. What is that about? Do I truly want to make more money, or do I have the belief that more money will make me feel better about myself?
In Tune with Myself
Sometimes I wish I could be like my daughter—completely in tune with what I like and want. Obviously, you can’t turn back the clock on a lifetime of socialization, but I’m trying to slow down and get more in tune with myself, rather than just go along with what advertising (or even my social group) says I should want or like.