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Smile and the World Smiles With You

By Tammy Harrison

I'm tired. Are you? Tired of the complaining and whining!

I'm convinced that people complain as a hobby these days, instead of quilting or bird watching! I'm not talking about simple aggravations. I'm talking the core of those who are so miserable that everything they say is followed by them shaking their heads in disgust and then adding an "I wish..." statement to their conversations.

For instance, I have a friend who hates where she lives. She doesn't like the town, doesn't like the people and doesn't like the lack of culture in her community. Everything she does has a negative connotation. I did see her smile, once, but it was when she was talking bad about one of her neighbors.

I was raised with the rule that if you couldn't say something nice, don't say anything at all. I am trying very hard to help instill that in my children. It's very hard, though, when we are surrounded by such unhappiness!

People have endured religious wars, holocausts, civil battles to preserve freedom and many other atrocities on national levels. Many of the survivors of these causes end up with a renewed sense of happiness and joy!

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Yet, as individuals, we seem to take every negative thing that happens very personal. Some take lessons in history (as in their own history of yesterday or earlier today - not history that is recorded) as a reason for them to jump on a bandwagon that runs out of control. I'm not saying that causes shouldn't be fought, or that we should just smile about the awful things that happen and move on. I'm interested in finding a way for us to look at others and exude the good feelings of being alive without throwing negative daggers and vibes around us.

I was recently at a meeting when someone asked me how my kids were. I don't know what I said, but another gal said that I always complained about my kids, but that they were great little beings. I really took that statement to heart, and realized that I did have a tendency to vent my mother-frustrations when someone would listen (never within earshot of the kids, though). So, I made a concentrated effort to respond to such questions with loving adjectives. It not only made me feel better, but I also looked at the kids in a more loving way!

I am currently the leader on a project to get clothing and personal hygiene products to a Navajo mission our church supports. I had to sit down and read the way that the children on the reservation live, and it brought tears to my eyes. I was saddened at their conditions and, admittedly, felt guilty that my children had so much more in their lives. But, whether I got mad or sad, how would those emotions help me and my responsibility to collect donations for this group? I determined that only a positive attitude towards those who are offering donations and towards our intended recipients, would help me with the job ahead. How? I can thank those who offer their charity, and I can do it with heartfelt gratitude. Then, I can enjoy giving these riches we have to those who do not have as much, and I can do it with complete joy as they respond spontaneously to this simple act of giving.

I call this approach to life my Positive Personal Persona (PPP). To me, much more gets done, under much happier conditions and even a bit of fun thrown in to boot! I think, if more people tried to have their own PPP, even the bad things that had to be accomplished for peace and prosperity would bring good results without so much negativity and violence!

This holiday and into the new year, I respectfully ask you to take a minute to create your own PPP. Make it something you can live with, but also realize that it's a matter of life and death. Negativity drains a person, on both a psychological and a physiological level. Let's take a stand today to put on a happy face!

© Tammy Harrison
Tammy Harrison is the mother of four, and the Independent Creative Representative of Home-Based Working Moms.


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