Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Warning: Smiling May Incur

Shocked the hell out of me.
A few weeks ago I was asked the question, “Do you believe any one can be happy all the time, with all aspects of their life?” Without hesitation I answered “Yes”. The friend on the other line said, “I don’t believe that is true. I have been miserable pretty much my entire life.”

Maybe it was off day?
Today that same friend and I were engaged in another conversation and I will give five dollars to the first person who guesses the topic correctly (kidding on the five dollars, but nicely done on your guessing skills, buy yourself a coke!).

The background information on this friend of mine is held in confidence, but I can tell you this – this person is truly a gift to those around them – caring, compassionate, honest, forgiving, loyal, and most of all … brings a true balance to the lives he / she touches. Bottom line: you would never think of them as miserable because they add such a pleasure to your life. You think that they must be happy because of the front they place, because of how they interact with you … their persona screams happiness because of the way they treat people is what you think is given back to them ….

Wrong.
Sometimes looks can be deceiving. Sometimes our judgment is placed incorrectly. How many of us have friends in our lives that you swear must be the happiest person in the world, yet in reality they are dying on the inside and put up a front to the passing world around them – including you!
Or how many of us turn a blind eye to those hurting because we are afraid of approaching the subject, or taking on a challenge.
Or how many of us simply overlook our friend’s pain because we are too consumed with our own lives.
I will shamefully admit that I am guilty of all of the above. Some days all I can think about is what is eating at me, and ignore the world around me, only to regret it later in some fashion. Or I think a person to be so happy and not really needing a comforting word, or a random thought to say hello. Or I shutter from the subject because I am afraid of upsetting that person and would rather just have them in my life (miserable) than without them (miserable). If we all take off our blinders for a moment we can admit: We choose to follow the same walk in life, day after day, for a lack of demand for change.

Ready, set, this will only hurt a second ….
Its time to rip off the band-aids in their lives (and if we are being honest, our own!). Wounds need to be exposed before they can heal. And, yet at times we are unable to pull off our own band-aids and will need the assistance of others … to those with the wounds, this is nothing personal and you will feel better once the Scooby Doo band-aid is gone and the air can begin to heal what lies underneath. To those doing the ripping – be gentle, hold their hand if need be, and remember … you are playing nurse here, not doctor. You cannot fix, but you can be the saving grace they need to help them recover.

Careers. Relationships. Achievements. Ambitions. Goals. Geography. OH MY!
I heard today from another dear friend that his source of unhappiness may derive from the fact that he holds a restless soul. I think that to be true in many faucets in life, some of which I have listed above. My belief is our unhappiness is stemming from a lack of peace within ourselves, stemming from a great deal of restlessness. Although some of us, myself included, cannot always pinpoint what particular item (or items) is bothering us, we do have a really neat advantage – we have the power of our relationships in our lives to look to for direction, guidance, support, and encouragement.

Admitting that we are unhappy is the hardest part of the battle. The next steps is the scary, yet extremely exciting interesting part filled with twists, turns, and probably complete chaos – however, it’s the best ride we will ever experience. My question to you is will you shutter in fear, or lift your arms high over your head and scream with all of your might … ONE HELL OF A RIDE!!! …. Then look to left and see your best friend, you lover, your companion, the person you met at the coffee shop last Tuesday and see that they too are along for the ride with you just in case you get scared along the way ….

Yes misery loves company, but smiling is contagious. (So is throwing your hands up in the air, and waiving them like you just don’t care) So my next question to you is: have you smiled today? Before you go to bed tonight, while you are brushing your teeth, or washing your face, or flossing from all of the strawberry seeds in your gums … stop and look into that mirror … and smile …and what do you know, someone just smiled back at you.

Do I believe any one can be happy?

To the original topic presented: I stand firm in my original answer – Yes. Each of us will have a point in our lives where we will be unhappy. Some of us will have many points in our lives were we are miserable. And even some of us will have a sense of the blues each damn day we face. I cannot tell you what is making you so unhappy, or provide answers to what direction will lead you out of the rut you feel trapped in – believe me, they do not sell road maps leading to Pleasantville – no matter what the advertisements suggest. I can however remind you that each day spent unhappy is a day wasted. Cliché I know, but there is such wisdom in that saying if we are ready to step outside our desolation realms and feel the splendor of the world around us. The road will not be easy, and at times you may want to revert. You may feel weary, and weak. The demands may be great and the frustration may build … but keep pushing … keep trying … keep believing … You can achieve happiness if you are ready to accept it in your life. Perhaps with the rip of a band-aid and friendly hand holding yours…

2 comments:

  1. Well done...I almost felt like you were writing about me.

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  2. I love it! This is something that everyone needs to hear and remember because life is too way too short! You never know if today is going to be your last!

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