I was just out and about in town running my usual weekly errands. I hadn’t even showered yet (I know gross right?) but I wanted to get the shopping done, plus I have to work tonight…
So I was in line at the deli and was just observing people around me. There was a mom with her little kid in the cart and he kept asking her little questions. “Mom why do you kiss me all the time?” Stuff like that. It was really sweet. She walked by me and I commented to her- “Your little guy is so cute!” but she didn’t look at me or respond. Maybe she didn’t hear me, but I kind of think she did.
Another lady was there and they called her number and I noticed a lovely smile on her face. She was so friendly in her interaction with the deli person. Even when she was waiting while someone was filling her order, she had a the slighted semblance of a smile on her face. She glanced at me and gave me a big friendly smile. Wow, I thought, she is awesome.
I remember when I was plagued with social anxiety and panic attacks several years back how closed off I was to people. I know I didn’t smile very much and I pretty much avoided eye contact in general because it freaked me out.
It was a pretty miserable way to live. And I had the frown lines to prove it.
I am feeling so much better these days. It is such a blessing. I am sticking with my gluten free diet and also continuing to reach out and do gentle exposure therapy every day: at the gym, stores, around town, at work, etc.
You know I saw that lady smiling at the deli counter and I thought- hey I can do that. So I am smiling a little bit more today.
Anxiety Monster: Really? You think a stupid smile is going to help? You have so much to be worried about sister. Think about it- money is tight- really tight…You are a mess, the thing with your daughter, and what about your crazy dog????
Voice of Reason: Smile Jill. Just smile…
When my mind starts to wander into dangerous “What if??” and that crazy anxiety monster territory, I will work on grounding myself and staying in the present.
The truth is I have so much to be grateful for. It’s chilly out and my house is nice and warm. I feel good. I have a job. My family is safe. I feel safe. I have all of you.
And I am smiling.
Anxiety Monster: You really should be worried…
It feels really good to smile.
Maybe those naturally happy people are in on something….
Can you decide to smile to yourself and smile back at everyone you meet today too?
I wish you peace,