I saw the movie Moana the other day with my daughter. She was smiling throughout enjoying every minute of it. I thought to myself, is there anything more genuine than a child’s laugh or smile? It also got me thinking about why people smile, and how many smile because they are happy as opposed to those who smile to mask their true feelings. Everyone goes through a few rough patches in life, but how we choose to deal with it makes all the difference.
We need to learn how to handle the process on the road to a happy ending. Let’s face it, the path can be long, tedious, and frustrating. It’s even worse if we stumble, or God forbid fall along the way. It‘s humiliating to admit defeat. But real defeat doesn’t come from stumbling or falling, it comes from staying down and refusing to try again because our ego can‘t take it.
Put a smile on that face
Something I turn to when I need a pick me up is music. It helps me regenerate, refocus, and ready to take it all on again. It’s nearly impossible for me not to smile when listening to my favorite song. Many songs come to mind that uplift, but one has stood the test of time which is the classic Smile by Nat King Cole. Originally composed for a Charlie Chaplin film, the legendary song has influenced countless people inspiring them when they couldn’t go on. The lyrics are quite simple, but the song does wonders to encourage through trying times.
Don’t fake it
Smiling in the face of adversity is good advice, but we should not forget to enjoy the hand we’ve been dealt. I know it sounds strange – how can I enjoy hard times – but it’s actually quite necessary for personal growth. Think about it, we learn from mistakes and grow during hard times. Living a life free of complications or hassles is pretty easy. It’s the conflict that makes us strong. Without appreciating the struggle, the good times won’t be as sweet. I am all for smiling during tough times, what I don’t agree with is masking feelings with a smile.
Let if flow
I’m not saying to confront bumps in the road with a miserable attitude. What I am saying is to remember that life is a process – ups and downs are normal and needed. It is important to feel every emotion we have – good or bad. Smiling through the tough times without feeling the hurt and the pain, or having a good cry is pointless. There are no express lanes in the pursuit of happiness, expect detours and roadblocks – the process is never straight and narrow.
Next time you smile, remember why you are smiling. Do it because you have something to smile about not because there is no better alternative. People can sense authenticity, and smiling just because is not always best. Allow yourself to go through whatever it is you feel, do it constructively. Write, talk, get a punching bag, paint, or listen to music. Any positive outlet you can think of to dispel negativity is an integral part of getting back on track to happiness.
Society has made it acceptable to be shallow and superficial as long as you do it with a smile. But I want to challenge that. We need to show our true emotions, not to just anyone who will listen, but to the ones who care about us the most. If a close friend asks you how you’re doing, don’t just say an automatic “I’m fine” or “OK”. Tell them how you truly feel, let it out. There are too many emotionally unavailable people walking around afraid to be real. Let go, enjoy the process, and when it’s all said and done, remember to smile.