Smile or Else

It’s easy to look around at other people and assume everyone else is doing great, and then look at yourself and wonder why in the world things are going so bad for you. As I’ve thought about it, in many ways it’s reflected in our current standard of smiling when you get your picture taken. I’ve sat through my fair share of family pictures, and there is often a lot of drama around the picture itself. (Drama that seems to go up exponentially the more people are involved in the picture.) Often, there’s a whole lot of yelling, crying, and grumpiness before and after that picture, but when it’s time to click the shutter, the smiles come out.

Actually, it’s made even more extreme by today’s tendency to take multiple pictures at the same time. Back when actual film was being used, you just took the picture and hoped for the best. Weeks later, you’d find out how you did. These days, you don’t just smile for that one picture, you smile for a bunch, and then you pick out which picture of all of them looks the best. (Typically, which one has the most smiles and open eyes.) In other words, there’s a lot of posturing involved in those pictures, all to make it look like folks are nothing but happy.

But we all know that’s not the case, even if we forget it when we’re looking at the pictures. The same is true in life in general. I’m always amazed when I find out what some of my friends or family members are facing, when all I typically see from them is happiness and fluff. The same is certainly true for me. There are times when I really feel like I’m on top of things, but there are also times when I feel like I’m in the middle of the ocean and I just forgot how to swim.

I have to try and do a better job at cutting other people slack. At understanding that there may be things going on in their lives that I have no idea about, and that (if I knew) I would definitely treat their “shortfalls” differently. We do that when we’re aware of what’s going on, but when we aren’t, why is it so easy to assume everything’s fine, and our irritation is justified? It makes me think of the Bruce Banner explaining how he controls the Hulk: he realized he’s always angry.

Anyway. Not much to add to this, other than a general encouragement for people to go easy on each other. That whole Golden Rule thing definitely applies in this case. Have a nice Thursday, peoples.


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