I wrote this piece just a day before I saw the Weekly Writing Challenge. Now it seems tailor-made for what I wanted to talk about.
If you are one of those who constantly struggle with your mind, then you probably find it very difficult to be happy. It becomes even more difficult when you look around to see people deriving joy from the smallest of things. When you walk down the street, you hear a random carefree giggle. When you turn to look, you see this girl throwing her head back and laughing at something. It is so easy to feel incapable sometimes.
Obviously, there cannot be one answer to this.
One of the answers, I think lies in our power of creation. Nature has given living beings the power to create. So we create life out of life, don’t we? There are so many other things that we can, and do create everyday. Art, friendships, beliefs, religions, machines are all our creations.
Let us create joy from nothingness.
I smile at people who help me out with something. You must have heard this one a million times before. How one should smile and spread joy, etc etc. Still, we forget. Most of the times we forget to smile because we are too busy getting our work done. Other times, we are too inhibited and stuck in our urban dystopic minds. Why should I smile at strangers, they could think I was insane?
I can’t smile most of the times. I do however smile at tellers, waiters, taxi drivers, managers, cashiers and the odd policeman who gives me directions. Somehow, I always remember to smile at them. And then I say, “thank you”. Everytime.
For most other people, they are transit points. They are the ones who “get our work done”. We pass through them, the way we breeze through cities between destinations. They don’t hold importance because they are mediums at most. A waiter is a transit point in the journey of a meal, a taxi driver transports you from point A to point B. The meal matters, the points do, who cares about the line in between?
We rush them, yell at them, and brush past their trained “Good mornings”. We lament their inefficiencies and get scandalised at “bad attitudes”. I remember being at this security check outside a shopping mall. The guard greeted everyone with a “good evening”. I turned, smiled and said “Good evening”. She looked up from a bag she was checking, utterly surprised. Then she smiled and said, “Thank you.”
I was dining at a restaurant with my parents. The waiter who served us was a very nice man. At the end of our meal, he came to us and said, “In all my years of serving, very few people have spoken to me the way you have”. Some people don’t even verbalise it, you can see their faces light up at an unexpected smile. The trick is never to expect it in return. Smile because you want to make the other person a little happier, not because you want a smile in order to feel fulfilled.
I know my face lights up when someone surprises me with a smile. For anyone battling depression, that’s a huge leap. I think. that every time we smile when the Universe isn’t expecting us to, we create joy. A tiny blob of joy to counter all the sorrow, pain, and anger in the world.
So that’s my bit of advice . Go out, smile at the person over the counter. Maybe they smile back, maybe they don’t. You tried, to create something where nothing existed. To peace and creating light.
A smile is your face saying ‘thank you’.
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