On my personal Facebook page, I've started something, and I want to have it here, too, because in life everything is a blur. Yes, that silly ol' stop and smell the roses thing. Life is stressful. It can be negative, (especially online, my God!), and it can be downright depressing if you’re not careful.
But I read somewhere some time ago, the best thing you can do for yourself every day is smile. Not just smile like you give the cop when he pulls stops you for doing 21 mph over the limit. No, a genuine smile, shared between you and … you.
The writer of this little article said it changed his life, literally in days. Of course, I scowled and thought “what a crock of shit.” Then one morning before getting in the shower, I brushed my teeth, put the brush and paste away in the medicine cabinet behind the mirror, and found myself eyeball to eyeball. I had a stare down with me.
Now, you must know, like everyone here I’m sure, I’ve been focused on all the crap I have to deal with in life, being a dad, being a husband, being the only one who works in the house, the mortgage, credit cards, school and pre-school bills, health bills, keep the cars running and so on. Well, I deal with it all pretty much the same way I have ever since I quit smoking them dang ol’ Camel Lights. I park my ever-widening ass on the couch in front of a baseball game with something always within reach to eat and drink. Well, that leads to more depression along with a lot of family members and friends saying, “hey, lardo, WTF?”
Needless to say, staring myself down in the mirror, was not uplifting. I leaned over and placed both palms on the sink, got a closer look at myself. The brightness of my eyes has waned. The wrinkles are a little deeper. The gray – oh the gray in the beard! – is more prevalent. My nose, is it always this red? Even in the morning? “God, I’m a mess.”
Then, while nose to nose with the mirror, I remembered with that “moron” writer said about giving yourself a smile in the morning and figured “hell, couldn’t hurt.” So I smiled. And yes, the wrinkles got even slightly deeper, my teeth are a little stained from drinking the coffee and age has allowed a few of them to get a little out of place. It was easy to see. What I didn’t see right away was the brightness in my eyes. The friendly wrinkles that said I accept all of your crap that I’m looking at. I own this frightful looking, aging body. And goddamnit, I’m ugly! Goofy lookin’ as hell.
Yet, there I was smiling. And it felt good. I was even happy at work. At first I thought it was because I slept a little longer than usual. However, the next morning, I got up and immediately stared into the mirror, my big ol’ ugly mug and body standing there looking at my reflection. I leaned in and smiled. It was like I just saw an old friend again after so many years. We had a discussion, no words, just hazel eyes to hazel eyes said everything. I smiled, falsely amplified it until I looked like a freak on experimental drugs, and then smiled again. Me and me.
And it felt good. I looked at my face smiling back at me and said “I like this guy.” Then I thought, “holy shit, that’s me!”
I like me. Think about it. It’s hard to hate someone when they smile at you. When you get a genuine smile – even from a stranger – you’re like, that dude is friendly! How nice! Yet, we all have this self-critical thing in our heads that is slowly killing us from the inside out. We only see every negative, every fault. It’s easy to smile at another person, but it’s the hardest thing to smile at yourself, naked to the world, just woke up with crazy hair. But all you have to do is smile.
When I started smiling at myself, the day got easier. My work was more fulfilling. The family was more enjoyable. The stress, well, it’s still kinda there, but with my positive mind I was able to find solutions to my biggest stress makers, so the stress is even reduced considerably. I find the positives in negatives and try to lift co-workers and peers up when they can’t. It’s a different world! All from a smile.
Then, I started wondering, why doesn’t anyone else do this? Why don’t they just smile at themselves in the morning? I mean, this is great! It’s changed me, no joke! So I took to Facebook, and on my personal page, I started asking my friends and followers if they have yet to #smileatyourself today?
A few friends even posted a selfie of them smiling as a reply. And it was fantastic! And it felt great to see just the mere thought of someone smiling at them made them smile.
Of course, a few of my dude friends gave me some crap, but they always do. They get it, I know. And I’m going to keep asking them, I’m going to keep asking me and I’m going to keep asking you, “hey, did you #smileatyourself today?”
Larry is a content marketing professional, an experienced copywriter, avid fisherman, amateur sailor, teller of kinda funny jokes, pancake connoisseur and an overall OK guy who founded Sawfish Online.