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3 Ways Play Can Make You The Best Version Of Yourself

Play for Peace member Richard Delos Reyes shares how play has allowed him to become a more confident, compassionate version of himself, and how you can unlock that potential as well.

I can now reach out to the world through play. This enables me to sustain strong bonds and relationships with others. While play can simply mean having fun for an hour, it can also have a lifelong impact.

The act of play allows me to serve my community through unique forms of leadership. It also serves as a powerful tool in building good relationships with people from different cultures, beliefs and perspectives. Indeed, most individuals feel a sense of excitement when they hear the word “play.” And yet there was a time when I believed that play meant merely having fun: an energetic act, reserved mainly for children. This point of view changed when I experienced the true essence of play. Last year, the Alliance of Argawanon Youth Leaders (AAYL), in partnership with Play For Peace, organized a Grand Play Day in Cebu, Philippines. This event taught me that although play is a simple word, it carries with it profound meaning. It has had an immeasurable impact on my life. Here's why:

1. Play allows me to be “Me.” It is a powerful mirror that helps me to reveal my true self, and even to discover things about my personality that I have yet to realize. Knowing myself enables me to be aware of my strengths and weaknesses, allowing me to improve as a person and to heal my wounds.

2. Play helps me to build good relationships with others. Communication is a process driven by the mind—our moods and our temperament. It can be positive or negative. If we want to build great relationships with others, let it be through play. Play is a highly positive form of communication: driven by the heart, and not simply by the brain it removes our personal masks and insecurities. It allows us to build and strengthen bonds with others.

3. Play empowers me to learn. I used to think that learning was found only inside of the classroom. Now I realize that learning can also be found in the playground or in any venue where play is present. Most importantly, I have found that play is a rewarding avenue for learning life lessons. Why? Because these lessons are not learned indirectly--by someone explaining how to behave or what to believe—but rather are learned directly, through experience. When I play, I learn through the act of doing.

Story: Richard Delos Reyes, Interviewed by: Madeline Treschuk, Blog Editor: Deanna Pizzitelli, Photo Credit: Richard Delos Reyes