I’ve heard that the best medicine is a smile. When you’re feeling down, when you are hurting, when you just can’t do anything right. Just smile. Well, that’s what they say and even sing about. Remember the song written by Charlie Chaplin: Smile / Tho’ your heart is aching / Smile / Even tho’ it’s breaking / When there are clouds in the sky / You’ll get by /If you just smile.
I know from practice, that when someone gives me a smile, it boosts my day. And there are times when I smile and can visibly see a positive reaction from other people. As a storyteller and teacher, I especially see it with kids.
Smiling and joking can ease the tension in difficult circumstances. It can be a great coping mechanism. However, there are times when it can also be inappropriate and hurtful.
Though my method of releasing tension is through humor, it’s not something you want to do at a funeral, or when someone else is feeling hurt.
Therein lies the dilemma. How do I cope with tragedy to ease my reaction for myself, while at the same time not offend the person who has experienced the tragedy? I have at times found myself swallowing the pain that I need to express, or release, in order to be empathic to others. Without the outlet to release my own sorrow or anxiety it makes it harder to cope.
You also have to be aware of the personalities you are interacting with. Where one person can get an emotional release from humor and smiles, there are others that can’t. It makes it harder if you don’t know the person and you don’t know how to react. Be yourself or control yourself?
On whole, I think that smiling, if genuine, is the best decision to make. Leave the words out, if you feel it is the right way to go. Think positive thoughts, be serious but light and just smile. Hugs and pats on the back, don’t hurt either.