Sharing Smiles, Spreading Love
Smiles are contagious. Happiness is contagious. Joy is contagious. At a time of year when people are more intentional about showing love to others and being considerate than other times of the year, how is happiness shared too?
As most know, it’s extremely extremely difficult to give something that we don’t have, no matter what it is. That something could be various different things but, let’s focus on happiness. The holidays bring happiness to people, or at least that’s the thought and the intent. If you are not happy during the other days of the year, how can you be happy throughout the entirety of the holidays?
The holidays also bring a lot of stress to a lot of people, especially when coupled with high expectations.
High-stress levels coinciding with high expectations make it difficult for people to remain totally happy, might I even say joyous, especially if they are not already that way.
So, if internally, people are not happy before Christmas, how might they expect themselves to be happy during a stressful time of the year?
With hundreds of things happening at once, and people coming and going throughout the day, there are a lot of uncontrollable things, people are bound to disagree on at least something. Issues arise typically on two counts. The first being unhealthy conflict resolution and the second being negative reactions to an event or situation. Happiness is difficult to maintain throughout both of those.
Conflict resolution is really pretty simple, or at least it should be. When someone disagrees with you or shares an opposite viewpoint, there is one key thing that many people often miss. That key thing is the same approach that many teach about new ideas. For new ideas, some teach, “love the idea for the first 10 minutes, and only then, begin to question as to why it might not be a good idea.” I would encourage the same thing in a disagreement, agree with the other person for a few minutes (maybe not always 10), and seek to understand them.
It’s all about valuing the other person through this, especially as there is the desire to see eye to eye and truly understand the other, especially as there is the desire to love. With family, especially those that may not see each other often or share meaningful conversation on a regular basis, conflicts and disagreements are inevitable. Combating them, and valuing the other person throughout conflicts is the most important part, after all, it is family. Showing love to others, through conflicts, and through any hurt feelings is how happiness is maintained.
The way that people react to unintended or unexpected circumstances tends to impact the happiness that they experience also, especially if they are not centered and consistently happy to begin with. People may react one way and let that disrupt their happiness or joy. But, that’s the thing. Many times people plan for Christmas and other holidays and plan to be happy along the way too. But, happiness is a cause, not a result.
No matter where you are or what happens, happiness can be the thing that is constant throughout. Happiness is the cause of enjoyable holidays, not the result of enjoyable holidays.
So, when people are more intentional about showing love to others and being considerate, maintaining internal happiness empowers them to most naturally love and show love to others.
Thomas Merton, a French priest from the early 1900s said,
“Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business, and, in fact, it is nobody’s business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy”
Loving others is not always easy. But, loving others is a lot easier if we first love ourselves and are happy with ourselves. It begins with you but impacts others. Showing love in a way that is received is the most valuable takeaway.
By loving others as it originates through our own inner happiness and peace, we are able to maintain our own happiness while sharing smiles with others and truly spreading love too.
And finally, as Vala Ashfar said,
“You did not choose: birthplace, skin colour, birth parents or gender, birth language, birth name, ethnicity or born abilities. You can choose to be: kind, generous, honest, brave, grateful, respectful, optimistic, humble, faithful, helpful, happy.”