Our View of The World Comes from Within
The question asked this week: How can I be happier? Here is an experience that helped me.
The smell of spring was floating in the air, my emotions were in harmony with the sweet chirping songs the robins brought to the campus grounds. My heart was full of thanks, that the days of frozen nose hairs and numb toes were thawing away with the frost. The dimpled smile of an approaching classmate instantly informed me that the magic of spring sang in her heart as well.
I purposefully made eye contact with this happy girl and mustered up all the courage I had to frown back at her instead of returning the smile. The strangest thing happened to me as I watched the sparkle in her eyes dull, her dimples flatten, and her smile turned upside down. My heart dropped with the realization that my teacher had been right. I stopped dead in my tracks, as this newly revealed truth quickly prompted me to pull out my notebook and pen. I could hardly believe how one tiny act could have such a powerful effect on another…. Not just her but on me as well. I no longer heard the music of birds, my heart felt empty, and as I turned my head I noticed for the first time the dark clouds that threatened to cover the shining sun.
I documented my findings and carried on with the experimental assignment given by my professor to our psychology 101 class. I found another student with his shoulders slouching, feet dragging, and the weight of his world pulling his mouth down in a hopeless frown. I gave him an encouraging smile. It felt like two cords where attached to each corner of my own mouth directly connected to my heart. When I forced the cords upward into a smile, they pulled my heart strings up with it. I found a direct correlation between my own actions and how I felt inside. When his eyes made contact with mine, I saw a small twinkle of hope flicker in them as he returned my smile. It was as if the birds and everything all around me sensed the change. I could hear the birds chirp, felt the warm sun, and a refreshing cool breeze on my face. What I realized that day was; the birds, the sun, the breeze… none of those environmental things knew what my mood was. The difference was in me. And the way I felt inside was exactly how I viewed the world around me. I had the power to change the way I felt. I even had the ability to make others feel a little bit better around me.
Our professor wanted to prove to us that we had the ability within ourselves to create our own dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins. (These are the chemicals that are physically produced in your brain that make us feel happy.) He gave us this assignment to walk around campus and smile at someone who had a frown on their face and frown at someone who had a smile on their face. We were to document what happened, how they responded to us, and how we felt afterward. This was a great way for me to learn. As someone who learns by doing I have never forgotten this wonderful truth.
I understand now why the Lord asks us to open our prayers with a thankful heart. Not to satisfy his ego but to help us view the world with happy eyes, to help us feel happiness. May you all see the world the way he intended and help others to see it as well. Smile, be grateful, and you will begin to feel it.