Smile Often

 In Writer in Residence

Why are you so happy?” This is a question I often get asked. I have over-heard people say, “Why is Collette so happy?” My co-worker’s response, “Collette is always happy.”

Why am I happy? Why not? Even during the pains of divorce, I put a smile on my face. Just because I am hurting on the inside doesn’t mean I have to be miserable or make others suffer. Life is too short. Yes, I fake happy. There are days I want to lay in bed and cry, but life won’t let me do that. I have to move forward. I didn’t want to move forward with a poor attitude. Plus when I am happy people are usually nice back, which when I feel lousy, helps to brighten my day.

I started greeting people each day. I now have a person who greets me back, “Hello Sunshine.” It makes me feel good knowing I am spreading light. The world needs more light.

Another complaint I get, is I am too nice. I had lunch yesterday with a woman I was meeting for the first time. We were having an enjoyable conversation when all of a sudden she says, “How can you live in this big city? I am surprised you haven’t been eaten alive.” When I asked what she meant, she told me it was because I am way too nice.

I get taken advantage of, but I let it go. I can’t hold on to anger or hurt. Those emotions don’t hurt other people, they only hurt me. I would feel terrible if my actions or words hurt someone or made them cry. It would break my heart. This doesn’t mean I am not honest. You can be honest and nice. Anything I say or do is with love.

I have met a few people who are dark. They go out of their way to say or do shocking things. They seem to take pleasure in others’ suffering. I don’t understand that. Maybe it is because they are so unhappy with their own lives. Have they forgotten how to love? When I encounter dark people I don’t react to them. If I responded to them in anger I would feel so terrible I wouldn’t sleep at night. I would rather be nice and sleep with peace.

I spent 23 years living with a dark person. I tried everything to make him happy. He was angry and frustrated with my rose-colored outlook on life. He said awful things to me; he wanted to wipe the smile off my face. He did break me. Then with the help of a friend of a friend, I am beginning to re-discover myself. I love this journey.

Being happy and nice makes me feel good. I am going to let my light shine, and to allow for my light to truly shine I need 20 minutes each day to myself, either listening to music, playing games, reading, walking, or dancing. Then I am ready to go.

Smile as often as you can. When someone smiles I can see their heart shining through their eyes. It is a beautiful thing to see.

Written by: Collette Cottingham; Guardian Angels

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