Week #69 – Back to Basics: SMILE!

"Smile!" (photo credit: Grace Church)

“Smile!” (photo credit: Grace Church)

Week #69 – Back to Basics: SMILE!

Greetings, Happyness Tribe — I hope your new year is off to a great start!

After the busyness of the holiday season — shopping, visiting, celebrating, reflecting, and planning — the quiet and cold routine of January is always a favorite time of year for getting back to basics.

I know for myself that after weeks of pressing forward to December 31st — moving from one thing to another and despite my own better judgment — I looked up and realized:

I hadn’t been smiling! (What about you?)

People often comment on my ability to smile regardless of the circumstances.  And as I looked back through my Facebook “year in review”, indeed I saw my own face smiling back at me.  But in my eyes I saw the truth of year-one:

I was smiling, even though my heart was breaking.

It brought me back to my thoughts on Week #8: “Smiling is a habit…nearly a reflex.  It’s something you practice before it becomes automatic, kind of like a killer karate move.  You don’t wait to learn those moves in a crucial situation…you practice them over and over again beforehand.”

And still, the more I thought about it…the more I remembered that smiling is complicated business: If we smile regardless of the circumstances, then we’re not being true to our grumpiest selves.  But if we are true to our grumpiest selves, then we’re sure never to smile!

So which comes first…the smile or the happyness?

I pondered this as I ran from commitment to commitment, squeezing in errands, burning the midnight oil, and still dealing with the grief of year-two.  Here I was, sitting on 68 weeks of blogposts about Happyness — and I was finding it harder and harder to muster a smile.

As I struggled through New Year’s Eve, I heard the song “Smile”, which brought me back again to Week #8 — and the permission to “Smile, though your heart is aching.”

The scene from the movie Chaplin replayed in my mind.  Charlie’s just been given heartbreaking news about a long lost love.  He buckles under the sadness.  Meanwhile, his fans eagerly wait to greet him.  Seeing the crowd and Charlie’s state, his friend asks him, “What are we gonna do, Charlie?”  Chaplin pulls himself together and bravely responds: “Smile.”  With that, they head out into a sea of admirers.  Charlie’s fans expect him to make them smile…and that, in return, is what makes Charlie smile.

Your Happyness Challenge for the week ahead: Get back to basics — and SMILE!  In the flurry of getting your year off on the right foot — back to work, back to fitness, back to diets, goals, vacations, resolutions, savings — whatever you are planning, remember to take a look in the mirror once and while and SMILE!  Better yet — challenge yourself to a week, a month, or a year worth of smiles!  Not for others — but for yourself!

Make smiling a choice whether you are happy or not  — and you may just find that whether you are happy or not, you are smiling anyway!  😉

Spread Happyness — SMILE!  And share your experience (or face) in the comments!

1/8/16 by Grace Church
© Grace Church

2 thoughts on “Week #69 – Back to Basics: SMILE!

  1. Ted

    Dear Grace
    You spoil us dear friend, you share your smile so generously, yet you hide your grief so well, leaving us with only a chance to smile back but offer no consulation. Thank you for sharing so honestly on this blog. Spread Happyness certainly has taken a place in my life, your weekly kick in the pants fill us with challenges and motivation. Please don’t be offended if the next time I see you I give you a gentle rub on your shoulder, it is meant as just a smile ( gesture) of understanding with no words necessary, or I may just smile back you, but now you know I understand.

    1. Grace Church Post author

      Hey Ted! Thanks for continuing to follow along and always encouraging me to move forward! The grief journey has been an interesting one — and I take solace in the fact that we never “get over it”, just on with it! It is one of my brother’s last gifts to me — and I am not eager to forget it, because he lives in every moment that I remember! 😉


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