A lot of people out there need to find their smile. Because while going through life, they lose the ability to laugh, to laugh without worry.
The change is gradual and subtle.
You might brush it off because you don’t even notice yourself changing.
That is what happened to me.
I woke up one day to realise I was taking life too seriously.
Growing up, I had disappointments, as we all do. But despite that my hope for the future outweighed all of that.
Of course, I encountered some disappointments and obstacles, and my future didn’t play out as I imagined it would.
A cycle of blame.
I entered a cycle of blame.
Blaming myself for not being wiser to make better decisions.
Blaming myself for not being smarter to catch my wrong decisions.
And when this cycle of blame made me feel miserable, I blamed myself for feeling miserable.
After all, resilient people don’t waste energy or time feeling miserable.
Then I got angry but worse, I felt I was entitled to my anger.
Through feeling wronged and directing my anger outwards, I stopped being able to experience joy, and of giving it too.
1. A ritual.
Having a ritual, any ritual helps give me a sense of grounding and stability.
When we follow rituals that are aligned with our beliefs, values, and life purpose, it makes us feel calmer and more in control over other areas in our lives.
I chose the ritual of saying, “Thank You!” three times after waking up. Something I copied from Wayne Dyer.
This simple act of gratitude in the morning uplifted me and gave me the assurance that I could develop other habits and rituals to change other areas of my life too.
2. Smiling more.
Research shows that our external expressions act as a continual feedback loop to reinforce our internal emotions.
So, we don’t smile when we are happy, we need to smile to be happy.
Yes, smiling more even when we are down in the dumps will gradually make us happier.
True to this, smiling at other people takes us beyond our own world and has us focus on another’s happiness.
If smiling made me feel good and smiling is contagious then by smiling at other’s I was making them feel good too.
We all have activities that elevate our mood.
It might be listening to music, dancing, cooking, reading, cleaning, or being in the company of relatives.
Make time to do things that give you more opportunities for “smile-time.”
3. Everyone, including yourself, is only human.
One trait that contributes massively to our well-being, fulfilment, and happiness is forgiveness.
Everyone in the world has been hurt or let down by somebody they trusted.
Or at a minimum, wishes they had been treated better.
We are all standing at one single point in the massive learning curve that is life.
When I use ‘we’ that includes yourself and the people that hurt you.
And our actions spring from our perceptions from that particular vantage point.
If you want to learn the skill of forgiveness, then spend more time with kids.
They manage to practice the art unerringly.
4. Start somewhere.
We put off our plans because we think we are not there yet, not ready to start.
We’re too judgemental of ourselves and as a consequence are afraid of showing our imperfections to the world.
We all make the mistake of waiting for the perfect time to start or launch something.
Mother nature took millions and millions of years to get to where the world is today.
And amazingly, the world will continue to evolve for millions of years from now.
If that is the case, why do we have to be perfect today?
5. Breaking the pattern.
When we feel angry with somebody, it is because we associate something negative with them.
When we consciously associate positive things with them, like the time they helped me or remembering the skill they are really good at, the negativity will melt away.
Of course, the negativity can come back, but the more you counter it with positive thoughts, the less power it has.
The next time you find yourself getting annoyed with someone, remember a positive thing about them.
It makes a world of difference.
6. Make a decision.
There is a difference between making a decision and taking a decision.
It is an essential but subtle distinction.
When you make a decision, it is a process that happens over time.
It is when the decision is constructed or made.
It is about how you get to the decision, ensuring you understand the whole process.
When you take a decision, it occurs in an instance.
The decision is taken from the options available options.
Consider that a decision is taken at the moment the choice is made.
Decision making, precedes the decision being taken.
What often happens is that we rush the decision-making.
And some may still be undecided, unclear, or even unsure.
The likelihood is that they might be unclear what the consequences of the decision are or unclear what actions are required following the decision.
You need to be crystal clear what decisions are required and how you will make them.
Whenever you are faced with a significant decision, making it is an enormous emotional leveller.
Make a decision to find your smile. When you do, it will clear the old clutter and restart happiness.
You will feel invigorated, even if it is hard work.
7. Be aware of the triggers.
Our health has a significant effect on our mood and vice versa.
When I am stressed, my diet suffers, and my body fails to run optimally, and this, in turn, causes my mood to suffer further.
I would then procrastinate, which made me feel bad about myself.
I am cautious about over-scheduling myself, so things don’t pile up.
When they do, I feel inefficient and inadequate.
Our body is continuously giving us signals. Even when we try hard to ignore them.
Maybe it is time to start paying attention.
To find your smile and have renewed happiness, you need to invest in yourself.
Be kind to yourself and take time to understand yourself.
Spend time doing the things you love and remember to afford yourself time to heal, no matter how painful it is right now.