If we are peaceful, if we are happy, we can smile, and everyone in our family, our entire society, will benefit from our peace. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Smile! It makes people wonder what you are up to. Seriously, though. When we, ourselves, act peacefully, when we are happy, when we smile, it has a positive effect on those around us. I recall a photograph of an elderly couple I know displayed at the funeral of the wife. The photo was taken during the time period before the woman’s death. She was going through chemotherapy to battle the cancer that eventually took her life. She had lost all her hair, and couldn’t have felt great given the cancer and the chemo. Yet there she and her husband sat, with the happiest grins on their faces. These were not smiles of people that were told to say cheese. These were genuinely happy smiles. They were still loving life despite the adversity they faced. I was so struck by that photo. It was truly inspiring how these people were at peace and happy knowing the difficulties they faced.
Being happy and smiling does more than make you feel good. It is contagious. Others are drawn in by it. They can be inspired by it, as I was by the photo of my friends. Tackling the difficult with a positive attitude and a smile will inspire those around you toward a can-do attitude. Let’s face it. Our attitude about what we encounter, what we have to get done, what we must take care of, makes all the difference. When we go into anything dreading it or wishing it away, it doesn’t end up being much fun. It is drudgery. Do we want to live a life of drudgery? I think not. Do we want our fellow man to live a life of drudgery? I hope this answer is no, too. If we want to be compassionate, if we want to improve the lives of those around us, then we ought to start with our own attitude. If we can act peaceful, smile and be happy as we go through our day, it is going to rub off on everyone we encounter. If we can help others to smile through our own happiness, then we are brightening the world and making a positive impact. Good for us, good for others, everyone benefits.
How are we to be act peaceful and happy when there are circumstances that make it difficult? Mindfulness, of course. Thich Nhat Hanh gives us this breathing mantra to help us in our quest:
Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.
This is a great mantra to use when we feel stress creep up on us. It reminds us of the peace and happiness we want emanate to the world around us by calming us and encouraging us to smile. Your positive approach to life will uplift those around you. In essence, happiness is compassion.