How many smiling songs can you name off the top of your head?
“When you’re smilin’, when you’re smilin’, the whole world smiles with you…”
“Smile though your heart is aching. Smile even though it’s breaking…”
“Just to see you smile, I’d do anything that you wanted me to…”
There are many!
We have all heard the smiling clichés and about how it takes more muscles to frown than to smile; but, for most of us, frowning is still easier. Some blessed souls have a resting smile face, but for the rest of us, if we are not paying attention our faces slide down into a frown.
About a month ago, I randomly decided to just start smiling. I think I was running an errand or late for something – I really cannot remember – but, I had the thought, “Why don’t you just smile and see if it affects your attitude. What good does fussing and complaining really do you?” So, I slapped a grin on my face, and what do you know?! It really helped. Partially because lifting my face lifted my spirit and partially because my big grin made me feel silly, causing me to giggle.
Either way, the smiling helped. So, I tried it again. I was running late for an out of town event, and that habit of getting worked up and frustrated started rising up within me; but, I kept reminding myself to smile. I forgot at times and found myself fretting, but as soon as I remembered to smile, the anxiety eased (it did not completely melt away, but I relaxed some).
Since then, I have encountered numerous opportunities to try my smile it out method, and in most cases, I have found it to be helpful. There was a time in my life I was leery of showing emotions on my face that I did not feel in my heart as if I was lying with my smile; but, I am continually learning that our emotions and actions follow our beliefs and what we tell ourselves. When I tell my face to smile, my emotions follow suit until I actually do feel better.
Should We Stuff Our Emotions?
Though it is important to smile in the face of adversity, we should not stuff our negative emotions. God gave us emotions – tears and laughter – and we need to use them both! When I need to cry, I do. When I need to express anger, I can – constructively and respectfully. But, in those moments when I am simply annoyed by traffic, aggravated about something trivial, or simply feeling irritable, I can tell my face to smile and watch my day improve.
How Can I Become a Happier Person?
They say to become rich, we must do what rich people do. To become more Christ-like, we should follow Christ’s example and live as He lived. So the corollary: to become happier, we need to do what happy people do. Happy people are not without their own trials and issues. They simply choose to respond to their situations with a positive outlook. Maybe they were once irritable complainers who decided they were tired of feeling weighed down by negativity all the time?
Heather, A Grumpy-Pants? No Way!
My parents and childhood friends can attest to the fact that I had bouts of irritability as a child. When I was fifteen, I went on a trip with our youth group and for some reason, I threw a fit one morning before we headed to Six Flags. Some people yell and scream with their fits, but I would fuss under my breath and slap a DO NOT mess with me right now sign on my forehead.
When I concluded my tantrum, I came downstairs only to find my uncle, one of our chaperones, smiling from ear to ear.
“You are just like your Daddy. You have to get a little mad first thing in the morning. Now it’s time to have fun.”
No matter how upset I was, I could not keep a sour expression on my face after seeing his toothy grin. Smiles are powerful!
When I have my moments, I do not stop to think, “Hmmm, I wonder how those around me are being affected by my complaining and fussing?” Sometimes my angry moments are humorous – at least I have been told. Other times they are damaging. Most times… they are not edifying.
One of the greatest ways we can bless our loved ones and communities is to smile and find the humor in our lives.
Negativity Breeds More Negativity
When I feel icky and nurse such thoughts as “it is not fair that I have to deal with this!” it does not take long for me to turn into a completely miserable person. Who wants to be around someone like that? You know it is bad when you want to get away from yourself! But, when I feel icky and yet choose to smile, suddenly I am reminded of pleasing thoughts, ways I have been blessed, and how it is going to get better.
How we feel is in large part connected to our decisions. Lately, I have decided to smile and make the best of frustrating situations – and I have been pleased with the results. Murmuring and complaining does not help us and it drags others down with us. A pleasant countenance is comforting, motivating, and encouraging to the world.
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain” (Philippians 2:14-16, ESV).
You can be a huge blessing to your sweetie, friends, and loved ones by making a daily (sometimes minute-to-minute) decision to smile. Before long, it will be a habit! Personally, I am tired of bathing in negativity. It is time for something new. Bring on the smiles!
So, what do you think? Ready to start smiling?