Explore Life Coaching, Patti Phillips

The Value of Play

It’s easy to take play for granted and see it as a guilty pleasure in our lives. Sure, it’s something we encourage our young children to do and we are awed by their joyfulness and creativity, but at some point we begin to perceive it as frivolous. As children become adolescents, they are often required to get their work done before they are granted the privilege of play. It is also during this stage in life, when the opinion of others is so strong, that teens begin to shy away from playing for fear of being judged. Will they be seen as foolish, gay, incompetent, or worst of all “childish”?

As we grow into adulthood, we are bombarded with messages that we have to be productive. Although we may still have some desire for play, we push it to the end of our “To Do List” because we simply have more important things to do; things we have to do. We get to the end of our workday and if there is any time left, their likely is no energy for play.

So how do we change this so that play finds its way back into our lives? The most important shift is to find value in play. As human beings, we are driven to match our actions with our values in order to be fulfilled. It is when there is a mismatch between what we believe and what we do that we are stressed. If we don’t think that play has any value in our busy lives, then it makes sense that it is low on our priority list. By finding true value in play, we will be compelled to make sure it is part of our daily being.

So, what is the value of play? Why would we waste our time and energy in non-productive activity like play? It’s reasonable to accept that play is fun, it refreshes and recharges us so that we can face the challenges of life with optimism and creativity. It renews our ability to accomplish our productive work. When we are at play, it allows us to escape from the stresses of life, if only for a moment. We choose to pursue many of our relationships, especially our friends and potential partner, based on shared play attitudes and interests.

The true value of play is that it is a reflection of our individual and unique spirit. It is through play that we can express our passion and are able to act out who we truly meant to be. Think of the people in your life that are compelled to follow their heart, live life to the fullest, and approach things with a sense of joy. They are fully engaged, they are creative, they are energetic, they are connected, they are curious, they have self-assuredness, they are relaxed, they are free, and they are present in the moment.  This is the value of play.

Unfortunately, even if a person finds value play, they may not be able to overcome the barriers to making it a part of life. So many obligations. The guilt of putting our own interests before others. No time. The fear of having others watch us at play and judging us. Judging ourselves. Not knowing what we like to play at and what our play spirit is Again, remember children at play. In order to play, allow yourself to be a child. Allow your spirit to come through.

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