Play: Embracing Joyful Purposelessness

“It takes courage to say yes to rest and play, in a culture where exhaustion is a seen as status symbol” – Brene Brown

Play is doing things that have no real purpose. We do these things simply because we enjoy them, not because we’re hoping to achieve something.” This quote resonates deeply with me, and I have shared it with numerous clients, friends, and embraced it as a guiding principle in my own life. In a world consumed by hustle and judgment, where people constantly strive for the next accomplishment or material possession, the significance of play for mental health is often overlooked.

As adults, when was the last time we engaged in an activity purely for the sake of fun, with no ulterior motive? The rise of social media has further diminished the essence of play. We now witness individuals at enjoyable events posing for pictures or obsessing over finding the perfect shot to garner more likes. Doesn’t this drain the joy out of the experience? Can it truly be considered play if it’s done solely for online validation or to portray ourselves as fun on social media?

Additionally, the competitive nature of our society, whether against others or ourselves, has robbed many activities of their inherent joy. The arts serve as a perfect example. We hesitate to paint, draw, dance, or perform unless we believe we are “good” at it. However, these creative endeavors are meant to bring us immense joy, not solely for monetary gain or recognition. Dance and movement, for instance, are sources of sanity and happiness in my own life. Though I am far from professional-level skill, the sheer fun and delight they bring me are invaluable. Yet, many people refrain from joining in because they believe they “can’t dance,” when in reality, it is the fear of judgment that diminishes their ability to fully embrace the joy.

I challenge each person reading this to engage in one joyful, silly, and purposeless activity today, simply for the sake of having fun. In that moment, I guarantee it will infuse a little more joy into your life. Let go of the fear of judgment, the need for external validation, and the pressure to achieve. Embrace the power of play and reconnect with the inherent delight of being fully present in moments of lightheartedness.’

Liz Vasinko

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