31 Days of Yes: Just Smile

Looking back over my 31 Days posts, they read like a bossy older sister admonishing anyone who will listen, but I think the posts are a actually a reminder list for myself.  Personally, I spend waaaay too much time being grouchy for stupid reasons.  There are truly hard things in life, and I've lived through enough of them to know that a crisis will come when it comes, and it will move on when it's good and ready, regardless of how much I stress and worry and attempt to control.  And honestly, most of what we deal with on a day to day basis is not the crisis it seems.

In the game SuperBetter, which I mentioned in the previous post, one of the "powerups" that increases your resiliency is simply connecting with another person.  If SuperBetter was MarioBrothers, this would be the mushroom that makes you grow big.

We often don't talk to others, especially strangers, because we can't think of anything to say after, "So this weather sure has been terrible."  But I have watched my children walk through a store and chirp "hi, hi!" to every single person who passes, and those people light up.  The child won't even remember it once we leave the store, but that little connection grows strength.  It's a bit weirder when an adult goes skipping through Costco, yelling hellos at everyone, but there is an acceptable way to do this: smile.  Just smile at that person as you both reach for the rotisserie chicken.  Or if you feel brave, make a comment.  "I really like your skirt."  Usually, people are so surprised they just smile back or mumble thank you, but sometimes you'll really make a person's day.  Of course, there are some rules about this.  If you are a man, you probably should not say this to a woman.  I don't know how men do it exactly, but I have seen two men who are strangers say something like, "Man, that monster truck rally on TV this weekend was unbelievable."  Then there is some grunting and chest beating, and they are friends.  So know your audience and use your discretion.

For the past seven months, I have watched a dear friend fight an aggressive cancer.  I won't write about it much because it's not my story to tell, but you can be sure it's in the back of my mind all the time.  Feeling something like cancer hit so close to home, looking into the fear-filled eyes of a husband, of parents and siblings and friends, even of little children who can only sense the tension of the adults, and searching desperately for something to say . . .that is a moment of choice.  What will I say "yes" to?  Will I live with my heart wide open knowing that shared pain is eased pain?  Will I show up to comfort, even when I cannot imagine what comfort I could possibly be?  Or will I turn away because I can't handle what's going on inside of me?

My point is that so much of life is simply showing up and saying yes to what's in front of you.  Don't keep your mouth sealed shut because you don't know what to say.  Don't ignore the phone or hesitate to visit someone who's hurting because you haven't even a partial idea of what will happen when you arrive. Good days, bad days, heartbreaking days. . .they really all ask the same thing of us.

I guess if someone asked me how to survive a crisis or simply how to have a good day, I'd say the same thing to both questions: "take a few deep breaths, find something to be thankful for, give someone a hug, and for heaven's sake, smile."

girl, life, quote, smile, strong

This is day 31 of 31 Days of Yes.  Visit the Yes page to see all the posts in this series.


  1. Thank you for this encouraging post! It's been nice to follow your thread :)


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