When you type ‘lighthearted’ into Amazon’s search, your recommendations will include women’s Earth sandals, comedic mystery book series, and shimmering pink lip gloss. So what does lighthearted actually mean if it can describe all these different items, especially as it pertains to people?
A lighthearted person is consistently carefree, cheerful, and relaxed. Some might say a lighthearted person is naïve or simple, but it’s really about people going with the flow and not letting obstacles get them down. Lightheartedness is natural for some, but parents can teach lighthearted habits.
I’m not naturally a lighthearted person, and I still struggle with overthinking things, perfectionism, and worry. But that being said, I am getting better at letting things go; taking time to relax; and remaining hopeful.
Let me share all I’ve learned from my days as a teacher, experiences as a mom, and personal research about what it means to be lighthearted and then how that relates to kids.
- 1 What is meant by lighthearted?
- 2 How can a person be lighthearted?
- 3 Famous Lighthearted People, Characters, and Films
- 4 The Punchline for being a Lighthearted Person
What is meant by lighthearted?
Let’s first consider what’s meant by the word, lighthearted, because this word can easily be misconstrued.
Lighthearted is a compound word, made up of the pairing of two words: light and heart, with the past tense -ed. Light means ‘having little weight’ and hearted means ‘big emotion or feeling’. When you take the compound word as a whole, lighthearted means untroubled and cheerful.
As a teacher, a common activity I’d assign for kids learning new words is to define the words. Then, next, I’d have them look up synonyms and antonyms for the unfamiliar word they were learning. Below I’ve created a table that gives the synonyms and antonyms for ‘lighthearted’ in the same way.
|Synonyms for Lighthearted||optimistic, hopeful, easygoing, unconcerned, cheerful, happy-go-lucky|
|Antonyms for Lighthearted||earnest, grave, serious, somber, careful, anxious, concerned|
Next, I’d have students apply the word in several role playing exercises, and for those who preferred working independently, I’d have them use the word in sentences, in different contexts. Here’s an example of this for the word, lighthearted.
Context Sentences for Lighthearted:
- The boy’s lighthearted attitude during his teacher conference about his bad behavior was a cause for alarm. (Lighthearted = unconcerned)
- SpongeBob SquarePants is lighthearted as he rarely gets down or discouraged. (Lighthearted = optimistic)
- Emma, by Jane Austen, is a lighthearted novel, full of youthful hubris and romantic misunderstandings. (Lighthearted = cheerful, happy-go-lucky)
Is lighthearted the same as kind?
When describing a new word like lighthearted, kids might ask you is it like this or that. One common question about lighthearted, is whether or not it means the same as kind.
Being lighthearted is not exactly the same as being kind. Kind is synonymous with empathetic and considerate. These aren’t the same as lighthearted. Lightheartedness is more about one’s self and one’s outlook, whereas being kind is about focusing on others and putting them first.
A lighthearted person can also be kind, but being lighthearted doesn’t automatically mean you’re also kind.
Lighthearted Vs. Happy
So another question connecting words to lighthearted is whether or not being lighthearted is the same as happy.
Lighthearted people are commonly happy and cheerful by definition of the word, lighthearted. A lighthearted person is relaxed, not anxious or worried, easygoing, and optimistic, all synonyms for lighthearted. These traits would constitute a person being considered ‘happy’.
Synonyms for Lighthearted: blithe, carefree, cheerful, debonair, gay, happy-go-lucky, insouciant, lightsome, optimistic, unconcerned
Synonyms for Happy: blissful, blithe, cheery, delighted, glad, joyful, optimistic, satisfied
Words in common are blithe, cheery/cheerful, and optimistic. But even beyond that, it’s clear that there is a connection between happy and lighthearted, so much so that you can draw a synonymous conclusion.
Lighthearted Vs. Silly
Now what about lighthearted and silly? Are those the same thing?
A lighthearted person may act silly more than a person who isn’t lighthearted. This is because lighthearted people are relaxed, easygoing, and unconcerned about what others think of them. These traits make it easy to act silly without embarrassment, but a silly person isn’t exactly lighthearted.
Silly people can be dumb; frivolous; comedic; and scatterbrained. None of these traits are the same as lighthearted.
Remember a lighthearted person is relaxed, not worried, and goes with the flow. This doesn’t equate being silly.
Nevertheless, a lighthearted person can be silly if they want, but that’s outside of being a lighthearted person.
How can a person be lighthearted?
Now that we have a good grasp of what is meant by lighthearted and being a ‘lighthearted person’, let’s look into how we can be lighthearted, if that’s not natural for us.
A person can learn to be lighthearted on purpose if it’s not typical for them. By letting things go; relaxing more; and maintaining a positive attitude, one can adopt a lighthearted personality. This means parents can support children in learning to be lighthearted.
Tips for Being Lighthearted:
- Learn relaxation techniques to reduce anxiety.
- Cultivate positive relationships. Who we hang around is very influential on our moods.
- Purposefully look on the bright side. For example, when a problem occurs, think about how you can learn from it, making it a positive situation too.
- Get plenty of exercise.
- Eat healthily.
- Have good routines, including getting enough rest.
- Surround yourself with positive entertainment/media by reading uplifting books, listening to hopeful music, and watching happy/funny films.
- Enjoy hobbies, or take up a new hobby. The more fun activities you do, the better your time is spent.
Is it okay for kids to be lighthearted?
So does this mean that being lighthearted is a positive trait, and therefore that it’s something we should desire for our children?
It’s perfectly okay for kids to be lighthearted in that they’re relaxed, easygoing, and cheerful. However, we should help our kids be well-rounded, so teaching them about a strong work ethic, being considerate of others, and setting achievable goals is also desirable.
Positive Actions of Lighthearted Kids:
- Learning a language (they’re unconcerned about mistakes and mispronunciations)
- Not holding grudges (they’re able to let things go)
- Relaxed (lack anxiety)
- In good moods regularly so they tend to have a lot of friends (cheery disposition)
Negative Actions of Lighthearted Kids:
- Don’t meet expectations (unconcerned about deadlines)
- Lack hobbies (prefer not getting out of comfort zone)
- Tend to not take things seriously, even if they’re serious situations (too easygoing)
- May be considered rude (lack of concern and seriousness can be misconstrued or construed as snarky or antagonistic)
So while it’s not bad for kids to be lighthearted, and I’d go as far as saying it’s beneficial for them to be lighthearted, parents and teachers need to use caution as they teach lighthearted traits to kids so that there’s a good balance.
Pros and Cons of Being Lighthearted Adults
Like with kids, there are pros and cons for adults in being lighthearted to keep in mind. Overall I prefer a lighthearted spirit in myself, and those that I love, and think it’s a good way of being for most anyone. But that being said, it can be taken too far.
It’s good for adults to be lighthearted by being positive, cheerful, happy-go-lucky, care-free, and easygoing. However, it’s not okay to be so unconcerned that you don’t meet deadlines or follow through. For this reason, adults need to be thoughtful as they try to live a lighthearted life.
Pro: Lighthearted people will take risks by going after promotions; meeting new people; and not letting obstacles stand in their way. These are all good, healthy things that can provide them, and their family, a successful life.
Con: Lighthearted people may be apathetic and accept mediocrity as a form of being easygoing and unconcerned about moving up or achieving goals. It may result in poverty, addiction, and slothfulness.
Famous Lighthearted People, Characters, and Films
It’s helpful to have examples of lightheartedness, especially for children. This makes the concept concrete and comprehensible. For this reason, I’ve listed some lighthearted family movies; lighthearted celebrities and what makes them that way; and lighthearted characters.
Lighthearted Family Movies
- The Parent Trap-The 1961 original starred Hayley Mills, but a more recent, popular version had Lindsay Lohan and Dennis Quaid (as the dad). This is a feel-good movie, and that’s the context for ‘lighthearted’ here.
- Father of the Bride– This movie also has an original (with Elizabeth Taylor in 1950) and a 3-volume remake with Kimberly Paisley and Steve Martin. The context for ‘lighthearted’ is more about how everything is resolved in the end, and its emphasis on family values and strong ties between a daughter and her dad, not to mention the whole plot centers around a wedding!
- The Lego Movie– This movie is cheerful and includes silly dialogue coming from toy blocks, and that’s the definition of lighthearted connected here.
- The Princess Bride-Like The Lego Movie, this movie has some silliness to it, but also a warmth and genuineness about it, and it’s pretty clear to the audience that everything will be just fine- our lighthearted meanings attached to this film.
- Actor Keanu Reeves is considered one of the nicest celebrities alive today. He tops almost every list for humble, kind, and happy-go-lucky, and that’s why he’s also ‘lighthearted.’
- TV Personality Mr. (Fred) Rogers is also considered ‘the nice guy’ and a person with a heart of gold, which is how he is included here for lighthearted.
- Singer Taylor Swift sings hopeful songs, does random acts of kindness, and stays down to Earth for a super-rich and popular singer, making her also ‘lighthearted.’
- Football Player Gale Sayers who authored a book titled, I Am Third, which aptly explains his demeanor (available on Amazon).
Lighthearted Animated Characters
- SpongeBob SquarePants is commonly tops or near the top of all sunny, happy-go-lucky, care-free animated characters in cartoons today. This is why he’s known as lighthearted, too.
- Ned Flanders (from The Simpsons), like SpongeBob, tops most lists for sunny disposition. Ned always looks on the bright side and is consistently optimistic, aka ‘lighthearted.’ In addition, Ned also is a devout Christian, giving him another reason for being ‘light of heart.’
- Dora the Explorer is an optimistic, cheerful cartoon character. Even when faced with challenges, she doesn’t get down; she keeps going and is never anxious. This makes Dora known for being lighthearted.
- Winnie the Pooh is the consummate worry-free character. He is regularly cheerful and sunny, though not excitable and energetic. He’s a mellow bear, which is also why Winnie the Pooh is considered lighthearted.
The Punchline for being a Lighthearted Person
So there you have it, just about everything you need to know about a lighthearted person. In this article, we addressed:
- What it means to be lighthearted (Synonyms: easygoing; cheerful; carefree; happy-go-lucky)
- How you can be a lighthearted person (A positive attitude goes a long way)
- Whether it’s okay for kids to be lighthearted (yes, parents can teach kids lighthearted habits)
- Pros and Cons of being lighthearted adults (very similar to the positives and negatives for kids)
- And many concrete examples of lighthearted (Personally my favorite is The Princess Bride!)
Being lighthearted can be great for your kid! It can help him or her achieve their dreams while at the same time maintain a healthy, positive attitude. However, balance is key in just about everything, including being lighthearted!
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