My favourite thing that my dad taught growing up is to go about your day with a smile on your face. Whether that be while getting groceries or waiting in line at the bank. When you are in a room with him it is like he is giving you this big ginormous hug of happy. I guess it is because he raised me but his happiness is almost contagious; when I’m unhappy and he walks into the room it makes me realize how stuck in my head I am.
The other day we went for a walk together and this older woman’s dog came running onto her driveway and then when it saw us it ran over to us. My natural thought and instinct was to nod a hello and keep on walking because I did not want to disturb her. My dad’s natural instinct was to ask her if she wanted help. He picked up the dog, walked over to the woman and began talking to her. The bit of this interaction that was like a punch to my gut was when I realized how lonely this woman is. She told us about how her husband and daughter passed away and how this dog is such great company for her. The reason why this hit me so hard was because my gut instinct is “keep to yourself, people don’t want to be bothered”. When in reality, she welcomed the interaction.
This is making me so emotional because somewhere along the way I lost my natural instincts to do what my dad did. I used to be the person that would pick up the woman’s dog and bring it to her. I like to think that I used to be the same person that brought happiness into a room. When I was younger I used to walk down the street and this funny thing would happen. The person would be approaching me with a frown on their face and as they got closer to me their frown would change into a wild grin. I used to be incredibly self conscious so I would wonder what they were smiling at – did I have something on my face? In reality, it was just that my smile was contagious. I now have this perma-frown on; my brows are furrowed and my mouth is slanted downwards rather than my old, natural grin.
Life happened. Responsibilities happened. Worry happened. Did i mention responsibilities? It’s like since I now want to be independent and take care of myself, I am filled with worry. How will I do it? How will I live up to my expectations (oh, hello perfectionism).
In life, we can tend to get wrapped up in our responsibilities and where we want to be. What about where we are? What about the happiness and ease that currently exists in our lives? We can make our lives as easy or as complicated as we want; it’s all about our perspective.
I invite you to join me in this challenge for the next month. I am encouraging myself and you to see what you can do to go about your day with a relaxed smile on. Unfortunately this is not natural to me anymore so I have set a reminder on my phone. The reminder will go off once a day and it says “Put a smile on, it’s contagious!”
Remember, put a smile on. It could not only change your day but you could change someone else’s day too!