Settling into your smile (your REAL DEAL SMILE, the kind that reaches your eyes and shines straight outta your heart, yeah that’s the one!), may feel virtually impossible when you find yourself processing deep sadness, pain, loss, grief, and trauma. In fact, in the early stages of recovery, you may even find yourself mindfully and purposefully practicing the less committed, far less genuine “half-smile” as a strategy for crisis management. Why?
1) To support an instantaneous shifting of energy, from negative to positive; it has been shown that the action of curling the corners of your lips up, even if you really don’t feel happy, induces a similar, physiological response in the body.
(2) To navigate conflict and challenging situations with greater grace and ease; ie. those times where you may typically lose your s*#t!!! Deep breath, half-smile, walk away, let go. Re-visit as ready.
(3) In the words of Social Psychologist, Amy Cuddy, to “Fake it ’til you become it.” Love, love, love the intention and spirit behind this declaration! No masks, no facades; YOU, in all your hard-earned glory.
I can certainly attest to exploring and experiencing all of this, relative to my own healing journey. Recently a dear friend asked me the following question, “Can you choose happiness right now, in this moment; when life is less than perfect, when it’s really freaking messy, with pieces missing and literally turned ass over tea kettle. Can you simply accept it, whole enchilada, as it is, and still find joy?” I thought for a moment and responded, “Yes, YES I CAN…I think I have.”
Over the past year, in some of my most difficult, darkest times, I have figuratively felt myself “arrive” in my smile; fully, authentically, albeit fleetingly. I have also come to realize, it has been in my moments of complete ACCEPTANCE and deep GRATITUDE, that I have been gifted these cherished and oh-so-celebrated glimmers of joy, of hope, of possibility, and, as it turns out, the building blocks for shaping MY REAL LIFE INSPIRED. And so it is here, I will remain (for now); playing, practicing, believing, and trusting.
And I will leave lovely you, with this one gentle reminder…
Whenever possible, allow yourself to sit in your smile; to savour its sweetness, to truly know and feel your JOY. This will serve you well, when you need to remember it the most.
Gratitude. Love. Namaste.