Monday Memes 2

In a remarkable showing of consistency, this is my second installment in a series I like to call “Monday Memes” – a more-or-less largely visual post with a few images around a central idea, message or theme. (blah blah blah). Today, I have chosen the subject SMILE:

Smile balloonsI was taught growing up that I had the responsibility – no, more of an obligation – to smile. And I did so, willingly, to please and appease my parents and grandparents. Remember, my Mommo and Poppo were from Tennessee so we always had to be happy, smiling, polished and polite children. To be honest, I found it pretty easy to smile as a kid – I think most kids are pretty happy and smiling comes naturally. The only time I remember frowning was when I was in trouble, as in “You better wipe that smile off your face, young man.” Which happened rarely (I was a great kid – what can I say?) So I smiled because, honestly, it felt “right.”

smile-youre-designed-toAs I got older, smiling became less natural and more forced. I worked for years in food service where “Your smile is the most important part of your uniform.” I also have always – ALWAYS – been in sales so, like, who wants to buy anything from some crabby-faced man? I have to admit, when one smiles professionally, it does take a bit of the joy out of it. Also, in my twenties and thirties, my life was not the perfect one I had envisioned as a child. I know I am not alone in that realization – being “grown-up” pretty much sucks most of the time. But I persevered…

Keep smilingNow reasonably settled in my mid fifties, I have the life I always dreamed of – I have a handsome, perfect husband (Thank You, Universe – FINALLY, right?), a have a small but beautiful circle of true friends that love me for me and I love them back. I have a career I love and, all in all, life is pretty sweet.

It – life – does sometime beat me down but when it does, I flashback to a ridiculous sales training seminar I attended where the “motivational speaker” asked us all to visit our unhappiest memory. I know, sounds weird, right? But he asked us to go there, to be in that place and just hold there for a minute. The room got really, really quiet and the air was very still. Then – without warning – the guy shouted into the PA system, “SMILE! Smile from ear to ear. SMILE!” It was a pretty incredible moment – the feeling of the room instantly changed and a large number of us not only smiled as hard and as big as we could, we also started laughing like lunatics, which was infectious. Soon the entire room was smiling and laughing. It was awesome. MT quoteAfter the room stilled a bit, the leader asked us what happened – we all giggled a little and then one timid woman in the back said, “All we did was smile.” (She so fell for it!) Then the leader went on to explain that smiling released endorphins and blah and blah and blah. Our faces were made to smile. It takes seven muscles to smile and a gahjillion to frown. All that stuff. What he really wanted to say – his message – was that smiling matters, and we should all do our best smile and be happy.

I won’t bore you all with a lot of drivel about smiles but I do believe they are powerful, they are magical and they matter. There is a feel-good-y quote that goes something like, “You can never own a smile because the minute you have one, you give it away to the next person you see” or something like that. Whatever the quote is, I do hope this little blog post made you smile and I hope you will do your best to smile as often and as genuinely as you can. You will be a happier person for the effort. And the world will be a happier place, too…

smile meme

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