Phil & Mel In The Afternoon

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Count your blessings.

How many times have you heard that? Probably as many times as I have. Nevertheless, that’s something which I need to remind myself from time to time. Whenever I catch myself wallowing in some minor, or even imagined, tribulation, I need to remember how good I really have it. I don’t smile enough.

I’ve actually heard that people from other countries think Americans smile too much. Maybe we do smile more than other cultures, but is that really a bad thing? Many would argue that things haven’t been so great in America lately. Why would we be smiling at all? They’re right. We’ve hit a bit of a rough patch. But remember…

There’s always someone, somewhere, worse off than you.

I’m not suggesting that you smile because someone is worse off than you. The Germans call that schadenfreude. It’s mean. Instead, maybe your smile can be just the thing that someone needs when they’re finding it difficult to muster one of their own. That’s right, your smile can be used as a force for good. What if the people in those other countries smiled more?

Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

I’m also not suggesting that you should deny your true feelings. Of course, there are times to feel angry, to cry, to grieve. No one was smiling in Las Vegas last week. A healthy life depends on a full range of emotions and the expression of those emotions. It’s impossible to smile 100% of the time. Well, not without the help of prescription drugs or plastic surgery.

Here’s what I am suggesting: What if we all tried a little harder to appreciate the positives in our lives and directed that energy toward others? It might look something like this: