The prompt for this fine day: What makes you smile? And this prompt also fits in great with the Secret Society of Happy People's Happiness Happens month, so it's all good.
"Make yourself smile because you’re alive and that’s your job. then do it again the next week. I call it being professional. Do it right, with a smile, or don’t do it." --Supernatural, season 7.
That quote got my attention when I heard it. It comes from a character named Frank, and he is speaking to Dean Winchester about handling grief. Frank's family was murdered, and this is how he is coping. By smiling.
That seems a bit crazy, on first inspection.
Why should you smile when you are unhappy? After all, something horrible has happened, such as a death in the family. It's normal to be sad on those occasions. Everyone expects you to be sad, to cry, and do all those little things that come with the loss of a loved one. Nobody expects you to smile or be happy about death, unless you've murdered your relative for a big fat check.
But what if nothing horrible has happened? What if you are just sad because it's Tuesday?
Hormones get mixed up sometimes, and a surge of a particular hormone may make you feel sad. You may just be tired or feeling lonely. Routine ennui. And that is just fine. You can't help your feelings, right? We take a nap, and we feel better.
Sometimes, however, unhappiness becomes a habit. We get used to feeling sad, and we start to enjoy that feeling. We get a bit of attention. Our loved ones start trying their best to make us feel better. Our sadness gets us presents. We like that. In the efforts people take to 'cheer us up', there is reinforcement and validation. At least at first. After awhile, when we've become accustomed to our sadness, we end up alone.
Nobody likes to be around someone who is sad all the time, no matter the reason, and that is just the plain truth. Unhappiness can be a learned behavior, a habit. Break the habit of sadness and choose to be happy by following the advice given in the quote above.
Even if you're unhappy, smile.
Smiling, even when you don't feel like it. Eventually that smile will become a habit, and it will become a truth. When you smile, you can't really feel unhappy, and actions speak louder than words here. If you keep smiling, eventually you will feel happy, too.