Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.
Life is hard, and if we are to be happy in this hard existence we must remember to focus on the good things. This is not easy. This is not easy at all when a family member is diagnosed with cancer, when your child is having problems in school or in life, or when someone breaks into your home and threatens your very security. We hold so many things dear and when those things, whether they be material things or the more important safety, security or health are threatened, then life seems like it can break us. We can feel our lives to be an insurmountable obstacle that we can neither climb nor escape from, not even for what would be just a precious few hours of rest and peace. When we are at this point and our mental reserves are shot we cannot be there for our loved ones the way would like to be, the way they need us to be. So what do you do?
Taoist philosophy tells us to be patient, there are so many things in life that we cannot control it is useless to waist your energy against an immovable obstacle. So be patient and wait, wait for what you can control, what you can change and then move. This is excellent advice, but what do you do while you’re waiting for that opportunity to change things. You focus on the good things, the cliché is, count your blessings, but it is a worthwhile exercise. And while you are thinking about the good in your life, make sure you smile. The quote below from Mother Teresa is one of my favorites, “We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” Because what we must remember is that a smile, even if forced, will make us feel just a little bit better and that’s a start. Even more importantly, in the middle of our pain, or grief, or frustration, by smiling we still can help others. Sometimes in the middle of a purely shit day, a smile from a friend or even a stranger can turn things around. And if you’re smiling at them, they’re likely to smile back and make both of your days just a little bit better. So smile sunshine, things will get better.
We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.