For my independent learning project I am researching the art of being happy and how to teach happiness. This weekend I spent a lot of time with friends and family who I love dearly. I have come to realize that happiness really shines when we are surrounded by people who we love and who love us.
This thought seemed kind of obvious to me because I am fortunate enough to have always had someone or multiple people who I love and who love me, but there are plenty of people who don’t know how that feels. Feeling unloved is possibly the worst feeling in the world, I think it is right up there with feeling helpless. Feeling like you don’t matter to anyone can really spiral a person into a dark place that can sadly be nearly impossible to climb out of.
Love is the root of happiness. Loving yourself, loving others, and being loved are all important to the journey of happiness. In an educational standpoint I think knowing your students on a deeper level than just a name on a roster list can mean the difference to changing someone’s life. If your student is unhappy you should be able to tell, and sometimes just reaching out and being a shoulder to cry on, or letting that person know they can confide in you can really save someone. Most people don’t let their internal struggle show on the outside, so you can never truly know what a person is going through based on what they look like or how they act.
Something that I researched and found was something I would like to try out this week. It is called the Smile Challenge. Walking down the street or walking through the grocery store or where ever you are at the time, when you see a stranger just give them a smile. And not just a tight lipped, grimace of a smile that we usually see today, but a genuine smile that warms someone’s heart. That stranger you smiled at will (hopefully) take the smile you gave them and reflect it on themselves, that smile will pass to the next stranger and so on. A ripple effect, you never know what that smile could mean for someone. That person may have been dealing with something so horrible and the fact that a stranger took the time to make eye contact and smile could mean the difference between ending their life, ending someone else’s life, or starting a fight with a loved one, or whatever the internal struggles might be. That one small effortless act of love could change the course of someone’s life. To quote a very wise (fictional) perpetually happy person, “I just love smiling, smiling is my favorite!”– Buddy the Elf, Elf. Just smile, it really is easier than frowning, and then the love you feel in your heart from seeing a stranger’s face light up will be passed around, and maybe happiness will come a little easier.