You know the phrase, “If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” It might be a southern saying, but it’s just as true in my northeastern home.
I’m in the midst of reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, in which she at first struggles to justify why a happily married mother needs to take the time to seek out happiness for herself. Her conclusion is that her own happiness is not a selfish luxury, but a necessity to bring joy to her whole household.
I agree. I notice that on the days where I am short-tempered and impatient, my kids react by looking glum, shuffling their feet to get out the door, and sometimes even snapping back at me. I hate to think of them traipsing off to school this way. On the mornings where I wake them with kisses and songs, we all manage to leave the house on time with smiles on our faces.
When I bring positive energy into my classroom, it comes back to me with students who answer questions and don’t moan and groan over assignments. I connect with my coworkers when I smile and look them in the eye rather than mumbling hi and walking on by. In my personal relationships, my loved ones seek me out to talk and spend time with me when I show enthusiasm and joy.
Every interaction with another person is an exchange of energy. Pain and sorrow is meant to be shared, and we need others to boost us up when we can’t pull ourselves out of a bad situation. Sometimes it’s hard to smile when I’m angry, feeling let down, tired, or otherwise hurting, but those are the days it’s most important of all to smile.
Try putting aside your everyday grumbles and notice how differently people respond to you when you tell them you’re great (even if you’re just okay). You may bring a smile to their face and they may bring one back to yours.
Photo credit: stock photo by tigger11th at http://www.freedigitalphotos.net
Please check out my first novel, Giving Myself Away. Divorced mom Adrienne gets pregnant after fooling around with a lonely mortician. He wants to marry her and raise the baby together, but she has other ideas.