I was out and about in the world today and noticed something striking, something peculiar.
Hardly anyone was smiling.
Not the people I passed on the sidewalk. Not those driving in their cars. I saw couples sitting together at restaurants with barely a smile between them. I saw clerks in stores and customers at cafes with nary a smile in sight.
In fact, I would go so far as to say some looked grim, if not grimacing.
What’s that all about?
Not all cultures express happiness, pleasure, amusement, and joy with a smile. But I’m in the heartland of America where we most decidedly do equate a smile with positive emotion.
So what’s going on?
I know there are problems. All it takes is a glance at the headlines to feel the weight of political discord, economic distress, environmental woes…
And if those Big World problems aren’t enough, most of us are dealing with a few pesky ones closer to home too.
But suffering isn’t useful for any of us. And the fact is: Some of our suffering is self-imposed. It comes not so much from the circumstances in our lives, but from our response to those circumstances.
Are you meeting the circumstances of your life with a smile? Regardless of what’s going on in the world or in your life, will a smile increase your burden or lighten your load?
Are you waiting until you’re happy to smile or smiling now in order to be happy?