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When In Doubt, Smile

Flowers by lake
Creative Commons License photo credit: Per Ola Wiberg (Powi)

“Your winsome smile will be your sure protection.”  – Message inside of a fortune cookie I once received

Smiling can be difficult, but we really should do it more often.  We should not only smile when things are going our way, but we should smile even when they don’t.

Smiling your way through life’s obstacles will make things a little easier when they are really hard.  Frowning your way through life’s obstacles just makes things harder when they don’t need to be!

Smiling in the face of difficulty doesn’t mean that we don’t acknowledge our other less pleasant emotions, it’s just that we recognize that, really, everything is as it should be, because all of our decisions in life have lead up to this moment.  Keeping a smile on our face is the way we acknowledge that life is growth, and growth can be messy and uncomfortable.

Our smile reminds us that everything is fine.

My Smile

For about 3 months now I’ve been in the process of buying a home.  Even in a relatively short period of time, there have been several challening situations along the way.

Being a first time home buyer, I’m new to the process and was ignorant in the beginning of all the places along the way that something could fall through (I’m not anymore however 😉 ).  Keeping a smile on my face through a long and sometimes difficult process has been challening, but it’s easier to get back up after a fall with a smile than with a frown.

Even if things don’t work out exactly as I want them, the experience has been valuable (and it’s not over yet!).  I can smile through this process because I know that things will turn out fine, and I’ll have learned something I didn’t know before.  Smiling is a way to practice both faith and acceptance in the universe, and I can’t put my smile away yet.  🙂

How To Smile Your Way Through Life

Remember That Failures Teach Us Something – Failing is valuable, even if it is unpleasant.  We wouldn’t get very far if we never failed at anything.  Success isn’t quite the teacher that failure is.  In fact, success is simply the last stop on the Failure Train.  Once you’ve failed so many times, success is bound to happen.  🙂

Remember That Everything Is As It Should Be – Your life as it is right now, is the culmination of every decision you’ve ever made, whether good or bad.  So, everything is exactly as it should be, according to everything that you’ve ever decided.  When something isn’t as we want it to be, there is value to be extracted from that situation.   We just have to figure out what it is.

Remember Your Own Power of Creation – When you don’t like the way that something is, you can always work towards change.  You have the power of creation in your life, and you should use it.  However, sometimes in order to be the creator that we want to be, we have to develop skill and experience first (see “Failure” above 😉 ).

Remember That Life Is The Art Of Growing – Growth is wonderful because it takes us to new places that we want to go to.  However, it’s also a messy process that at times we are tempted not to deal with.  But, once we are at the place that we want to be, the mess doesn’t seem to be that much of a price to pay.  Don’t avoid the mess.

Life doesn’t give us what we want when we want it, but it always gives us exactly what we need to get to what we want.  Smile through the process and life becomes much more enjoyable.  You are more resilient than you think.

What keeps you smiling when things aren’t going your way?  Share your ideas in the comments!

{ 14 comments… add one }
  • Srinivas Rao August 3, 2009, 11:11 am

    Great article. The title immediately caught my attention because I wrote a post called “The Power of Your Smile” just a few weeks back. Smiling is an amazingly simple but powerful way to shift your mood. You can’t smile and be depressed at the same time. It’s not possible. For me the thing lately that puts the biggest smile on my face is catching waves when I surf. In fact I realize now why it does so much for me because I’m smiling ear to ear every single time I catch a wave.

  • Positively Present August 3, 2009, 2:56 pm

    What a wonderful post! Smiling is so simple yet SO important. I don’t do it as much as I should but your post has inspired me. Thank you for reminding me to smile! 🙂
    .-= Positively Present´s last blog ..are you living in the future? =-.

  • Amanda Linehan August 3, 2009, 6:00 pm

    Hi Srinivas – Smiling is powerful. I bet if we all thought about our favorite activities, they probably make us smile quite a bit (just like surfing for you). 🙂

    Hi Dani – It is simple. That’s why I love it. 🙂

  • Andrea|Empowered Soul August 3, 2009, 6:40 pm

    What a lovely post.

    I can resonate with your home-buying experience, although I suspect you’re handling it more graciously than I did. I just bought a home last month and there was, unfortunately, not just frowning but some rather foul language involved, too.

    In the end, though, there’s a lot to smile about. A great reminder to honor our journey with a smile!

    Blessings,
    Andrea

  • Tom Volkar / Delightful Work August 4, 2009, 7:57 pm

    I’ve simply learned that the alternative doesn’t work. Thanks goodness looking at the sunny side has become habit for me. Life wasn’t as explainable before gratitude and acceptance became regular responses to the situations in my life. I love your smile by the way, it’s very sincere.
    .-= Tom Volkar / Delightful Work´s last blog ..Make Your Life Count =-.

  • Sherryd August 4, 2009, 9:36 pm

    Standing in the checkout line on day, I felt a bump from behind. I turned around to see an elderly gentleman for whom it appeared all patience had run out, at least judging by his grumpy, non-apologetic expression. I flashed him my warmest smile and made a small joke about the time in line. It was amazing to see his expression light up. Give a smile, receive a smile.
    .-= Sherryd´s last blog ..Seven Effective Tips For Anxiety And Stress Relief =-.

  • Tess The Bold Life August 5, 2009, 3:02 pm

    Amanda,
    This is so true and the last one could be the title of a book! What keeps me going? Friends, family, faith and support groups.
    .-= Tess The Bold Life´s last blog ..Meet Caity! A Bold Blogging Buddy =-.

  • Amanda Linehan August 5, 2009, 9:14 pm

    Hi Andrea – I can certainly understand why there may have been some frowning and worse in your home buying process. It’s stressful! I like how you said it – smiling honors our journeys. 🙂

    Hi Tom – Thanks for the compliment! Smiling just seems to make things a little less stressful.

    Hi Sherryd – I guess smiling is contagious. Good thing to know!

    Hi Tess – Those things are good additions. And make smiling a little easier 🙂

  • Caity August 5, 2009, 9:32 pm

    What a pretty photo and a lovely post. I definitely think it’s important for people to smile. I try to smile at strangers and they usually smile back. Smiles are contagious and I like spreading them around! Those are beautiful ways to remember to smile. I just smiled a few times throughout this post! Thank you!
    .-= Caity´s last blog ..Guest blogger! =-.

  • Amanda Linehan August 6, 2009, 8:23 pm

    Hi Caity – Smiling at strangers is a great idea. I’m always surprised at the positive response I receive back. 🙂 Thanks for your comment.

  • jonathanfigaro August 15, 2009, 4:32 pm

    Smiling displays 100 things in 1 sound action. It shows true acceptance of the other person. And the deepest subconscious level with in the human mind is being accepted. Just smiling bring a person to drop their guard and accept you also.
    .-= jonathanfigaro´s last blog ..Top 10 Quotes to Improve Mind Instantly =-.

  • Amanda Linehan August 17, 2009, 8:58 pm

    Hi Jonathan – I agree that smiling is a powerful way to connect with another person. 🙂

  • Lynell February 16, 2012, 2:26 pm

    Amanda, this is a powerful blog you have going! I’ve forwarded it to a number of people already. :o) When we only have two choices, such as life or death, most choose life. Or like smile or frown…most choose smile…I hope! I learned many decades ago during the most tragic time of my life, to not waste my energy on the negative aspects of the event. I decided to put all my efforts into helping those who could not cope with the tragedy, and to “look for the rainbow”. Since then, I’ve found that it’s always best to look for something, anything good that can come out of a bad situation. And smiling is indeed a terrific beginning. So “let your smile be your umbrella on a rainy day” and you will truly find that your smile is contageous, and you can brighten someone else’s day with something so simple as a smile. Love what you’re up to these days Amanda!

  • Amanda Linehan February 27, 2012, 8:15 pm

    Hi Lynell – Thanks for your thoughts and glad you like the blog!

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