If you are fortunate, on a clear night you see a vast expanse of blackness interrupted by tiny points of light. Even if you’re not in a place where you can see stars, you know how one tiny point of light in a dark room draws your eye. A candle, a flashlight, any source of light makes a difference.
At times, it can seem like we are overwhelmed by darkness. It’s especially difficult for those who are anxious, frustrated, or resentful at feeling controlled. It’s hard if you can’t find a way out; a way to get control over your life.
The tiny point of light is a reminder that even the smallest of bright spots breaks up the darkness.
It may not illuminate the whole room; in other words, it won’t solve all the problems of the world. But even a tiny light can help you find your way out of darkness that might seem impenetrable.
If you’re already in a dark place, how can you find even a tiny point of light? Here’s an experiment that could be worth a try. And it’s an easy one, too.
For this experiment, you don’t need to say anything. You’ll create your own tiny point of light through a smile. That’s right, walk around with a smile on your face.
There’s no need for a big exaggerated expression. Just try a casual smile. A small smile. A slightly more smiley expression than you normally sport.
Now you may be thinking, “What! People will think I’m nuts!” I guess that’s possible. But it doesn’t require a big commitment on your part to change the expression on your face. If you become concerned that your smile is causing things to get out of hand, you can always change back to your normal expression. It’ll only take a second.
If your usual “resting face” is neutral, perhaps even a scowl, then putting on a smile will seem artificial. If smiling is new to you, this will feel fake. Try it anyway.
Smile at people you don’t know. People in stores, people you see on the street, anyone you happen to find annoying (they are the most fun, actually.) You can even smile at people you are close to—the people you live with, work with, spend time with. When you feel your face drop back into its “normal” expression, make a conscious choice to smile.
What if you don’t see anyone? Even if you have very little contact with others, you can still give this a try. When you drop your toast on the floor, smile. When the cat reaches out and hooks you with her claw, smile. Whenever you get the urge to swear, smile instead. You can do it. We have more control over some of our “involuntary” reactions than we’d care to admit.
Then pay attention to the reactions you get.
What will happen? Well, it’s an experiment. I can’t predict the future, so I can’t say for sure what you’ll find out. However, when you choose to change how you behave, and you consistently follow through with that change, you will learn something. Things will either stay the same, they will get better, or they will get worse. You get to assess the result for yourself.
If you’re in a dark place and you can’t see a way out, try bringing in your own point of light. It could be as simple as a smile. See what happens.
Welcome to Reality Check:
articles and observations inspired by the work of Dr. William Glasser
- Choosing Behaviour
- Choosing Perspective
- Control and Choice
- Develop Understanding
- Doing, Thinking, Feeling, Physiology
- How it is sometimes
- Love & Belonging
- Perception & Reality
- Personal Freedom