.Happiness. – By Haley B. Jones and Smile- By Jennifer Laurent

Good morning LTTH readers. Haley and I wrote these two articles this past week without realizing it. We had no idea we were writing such similar posts. And so, we decided to share them with you as one. A similar message from each of us with a different perspective. We hope that you enjoy them and we wish you a happy week full of smiles!

.Happiness. – By Haley B. Jones

He sat grinning ear to ear in a jail cell among a purse thief, a teen who “should have known better”, and an alcoholic who didn’t know where she was yet. The man smiling had innocently cut down a few trees near his property line and it landed him in this cell with the others, facing a hefty fine. A guard walked up and knocked on the bars, fixing his gaze on the cheerful man.

“Why are you smiling?! I wouldn’t be smiling if I were you!” the guard sputtered.

“You can try to make my life hell sir, but you can’t take my happiness. You can’t take my smile.” he politely responded.

Xavier is a friend of mine who lives with his beautiful wife in Spain. I was delighted when he shared this story with me because it truly fits his personality in every way. While he was telling it, he was giddy, laughing about the ridiculous amount of money those trees cost him. You’d think most people would tell a story like this and be upset, holding a grudge and frustrated with the law itself. But not Xavier, he just laughs.

Lately I’ve thought a lot about this story and the many people I know who have gone through the process of divorce. I see how easily individuals get lost in what lawyers, judges, or even friends tell them. It makes it increasingly difficult to listen to your heart when all of those opinions are surrounding you. Personally, I’ve watched my mom, dad, husband, and many others endure great suffering due to this and I’ve been inspired lately to share Xavier’s example of pure happiness.

Whenever someone tries to push you around or manipulate you, smile.

Whenever life throws you a new curve ball, laugh.

The truth is, it works. It has been proved by social scientist Amy Cuddy and her colleagues that your mind follows your body language. In one of her speeches, she explains how our minds react to the position of our bodies. Observe your body right now, are you slumped, legs crossed, head down? Or are your shoulders pushed out, hands on your hips, and head up? Are you smiling, frowning, or straight faced? Either way, it directly affects your mood and your confidence.

As I said, it has been a bit rocky lately trying to push aside the past and rebuild the future but I take relief in knowing that I have control over my own happiness.No one owns it but me. So the next time circumstances test your limits, trying lifting your head, smiling and saying, “you can try to make my life hell, but you can’t take my happiness. You can’t take my smile.”

 

Smile – By Jennifer Laurent

The past couple days have been filled with events that can be considered stressful. Many of you may have noticed that LTTH has been experiencing technical difficulties and that we were even down for a couple days. On top of that, I lost a very important email that is unrecoverable, am dealing with some legal stuff, and my car decided to break down. All of this and all at once. I should be stressed out right? Feeling anxious, impatient, distracted, or short-tempered. Maybe annoyed or exhausted. Maybe even wanting to crawl into my bed and put the covers over my head. I mean, if I were stressed and experiencing these things it would be completely understandable.

Here is the funny thing; I feel great. As things started to pile up and go wrong, I posted something on Facebook about needing a hug, and received just that and more. Someone reminded me to ask for a miracle, a shift in my thinking from fear to love. I sat with that, asked for the miracle and continued to try to put out the fires that were coming my way. Time went by and next thing I knew, I was late to pick up my son from school, another event that can be considered stressful. I left everything I was doing and ran out of my house to get him.

That car ride was the first moment of the day that I had to stop and be. I took a deep breath and was shocked to find that I was not feeling stressed or overwhelmed, but rather I was feeling quite centered and calm. This quite honestly surprised me, as I know that in the past I would have been quite the opposite in a moment like this. I would have been feeling all of the above-mentioned possibilities at once!

As I reflected on this new state of being I seemed to be in, the first thing I noticed was that my heart was completely relaxed and filled with gratitude. I was grateful for all of the virtual hugs and text messages I had received from friends who had read my Facebook post. Even friends I have not had the pleasure to actually meet yet. I was feeling grateful for the little boy I was driving to pick up, excitedly awaiting his giggle and the silliness that was about to ensue. I was grateful for all of the stressful events of the day, as without them I don’t think I would have really noticed the beautiful space of being from which I now exist. This discovery brought tears of joy to my eyes as I felt pure happiness rise from my heart.

Here’s the thing, life is full of events and happenings that throw us off our plan or expectations. These things, whether big or small can overwhelm us and ruin our day. Or, we can look up and smile a playful smile, knowing that the universe has chosen to have some fun with us that day. Things might seem like they are going wrong, but maybe they are actually going right. In the moment we cannot know, but in the moment we certainly can play. We can enjoy life for the game that it is, keep a smile on our face, and wait with a curious heart for whatever is to come next.

I’ve tried it both ways and I can tell you from experience, playing along is definitely more fun than ruining your day. Go ahead… try it for yourself..Smile!