THE WILL TO SMILE!
We live in the greatest country in the world and yet there are WAY too many people walking around like robots—individuals going through the motions lacking emotions just to “get by”; or, living the fear factor. Even during the 80’s & 90’s, when the economy was booming and people were living the “good life”, the USA media focused on aliens…the outer-space kind. I graduated high school in 1984 and the news was a constant repertoire of sightings, who was abducted, and who was probed. Really? I often think if the outer-space alien issue was such a HUGE threat to the human race as we knew it—as great a threat as the nuke itself—than why aren’t we hearing a peep about it today?
My point not being whether UFO’s exist or not – I have no idea. My point is that we live in a country that is incredibly tuned into the whole world via internet, and every other way possible, that it’s a much larger version of the Martian from Mars tactic. We’re out of the “Industrial Era” and we’re now in the “Information Era”. Information about anything and everything is at our fingertips. And what do we do with this wealth of knowledge? Do we find the cure for cancer or something equally as noble? No. Instead, we’re spending our time dismissing each other, snarling at each other, and fabricating news inducing chronic fear. I don’t care if someone is Democrat, Republican, Independent, Undecided, or Decided to the grave…that doesn’t matter to me. Can we, as a people, put a smile on our faces, get some backbone and character behind our words, and move forward with dignity, honesty, values, ethics, morals, confidence and respect? Please? Bring back the SMILE! Spend that energy and bring about the cure for cancer! That’ll make tons and tons and tons of people happy! The human race as we know it will be forever changed! That’s a probing we’d stand in line for!
Why wait for the cancer cure to begin to be happy though? Why live in some perceived world—and everyone has their own—of depravation when it doesn’t take much to smile. Yes, smile! It’s a physiological fact that it takes more facial muscles working to frown than to smile. It takes more effort to frown than it does to smile. Why not start smiling right here, right now? Search for just one small thing to be grateful for, and smile. When we smile, truly find something to smile about, it sets off the endorphins in our brain (the happy cells) that boost our immune system. That right there is motivating enough for me to smile as often as possible! And a boosted immune system keeps cancer at bay to-boot.
Happiness is a way of life…not some place we save up to vacation, or try to fit into our schedules. Happiness is a habit. Imagine your brain is a muscle. When we spend more time focusing on what’s wrong with our life rather than what’s right with it, strengthening the negativity within our brain, then when we have an idle moment our brain will automatically go to the negative because that’s the part we’ve strengthened/worked-out the most. We CAN do the opposite! When we begin to find ourselves in a rut that’s gone on too long, say out loud, “Stop! I will not allow myself to *continuously* focus on what’s going wrong with my life!” Look in the mirror. Then get solution oriented. Begin to learn how to live in a state of thankful, solution oriented mindfulness.
It is then, and only then, when we begin to take own personal power back. We become acutely aware of the control we have over our thoughts. Being aware of the control we have, and being in control of our thoughts are two separate subjects. The beginning is awareness.
A best-selling, award winning children’s author of the book titled, SMILE, is the true story of the time Raina knocked her two front teeth out when she was 11 years old, and how she got her smile back. Raina Telgemeier suffered a serious mouth injury that required several years of dental and orthodontic surgery, (which is described in her 2010 graphic novel - SMILE). She was viciously teased by her friends because of this medical treatment, prompting her to partially withdraw into her love of drawing until she lost her patience with the abuse when they publicly humiliated her. She eventually found new friends of better character in high school who appreciated her artistic talent, increasing her confidence. Raina became aware and then took control! I love that! Hearing a story about facing adversity such as this, finding the value of true friendship, the significance of character and standing up for oneself, and writing a best-selling/award winning book about it, makes me SMILE!
An anniversary, birthday, New Year’s Day, a day someone finds precious to them for starting over is a wonderful thing. It’s a fresh start. Whenever we feel as though we’re not on the right path, we can choose to start over… any time in our life, and as often as we’d like. That’s the beauty of a new day, the beauty of “tomorrow”. Staying grounded in the present moment, the power of living in the now, with hope and faith in tomorrow, is a beautiful combination! So give your loved ones a big hug and let them know things can always get better… as long as we are willing to try. Trying leads to doing. Doing leads to a sense of accomplishment. A sense of accomplishment leads to stronger self-esteem. Stronger self-esteem leads to a stronger sense of Self. And at that point, you’re in touch with your Soul. WOW!
My challenge to all of us is… let’s not wait for a “special occasion” to put a smile on our faces. I honestly try to find something to be thankful for and celebrate each and every day. It’s not something I write down in a journal, although when I speak with children and others I ask that they do, even one or two things. For me, I celebrate miracles, big and small, throughout the day with spontaneity—it’s a habit; and, at the end of the night I thank God for all He’s given me.
Like the picture I have in my office says, “A Smile Is Contagious—Let’s Start An Epidemic!” And, let’s hope the media catches hold of that type of plague…then spreads it like wildfire.
Live ONWARD with great character and a smile!