Vacations have the ability to be both wonderful and highly stressful at the same time. Things fall through and your expectations are not met, and without realizing it, the grumpy look steals across your face.
I had a great time in Oregon a few weeks ago, but there were a few hiccups during our trip. For example, we got into Portland after midnight (2am home time) and we are more than ready to check into our hotel and go to bed. But when we arrived at the counter, they told us they had overbooked and had no room for us (panic!). So we were shipped off to another hotel and finally went to bed around 1:30am.
Not a great start to our vacation.
Then the next morning I had to go get our rental car from downtown Portland (half the price if we picked it up there, so being the budget conscious people we are, we went with that option). This country girl hasn’t driven in a big city in a loooong time. Cue another panic attack, this time in the middle of traffic. By the time I got back to our hotel, I was frazzled.
Dan and I don’t fight a lot, maybe 2-3 times a year. But between energetic kids (hey, they’ve been trapped in a car for 8 hours, airport for a couple more, and now a hotel), no sleep, bad coffee, and shot nerves, we were at each other’s throats.
At one point, I stormed into the bathroom. I was done. Then I caught a glance of myself in the mirror and recoiled back. I looked awful, not because of lack of makeup or a bad hair day, but because what I was feeling inside was definitely showing on the outside. And it was ugly.
The thought popped into my head.
No way! I don’t feel like smiling.
Just smile, the voice kept urging.
Wow, it felt like I was lifting a hundred pounds with my lips. I forced my mouth to curve upward until I looked like my old self again.
Let me tell you, it was an amazing transformation. My heart felt lighter, I looked better, I felt better.
From that moment on, I decided I was going to smile the entire trip. Every time I realized my lips had dipped down, I forced them back up. I wanted to be beautiful, both on the inside and the outside, and knew from my mirror experience that a smile could do that.
And it worked. It helped me refocus on what mattered, on enjoying my time instead of letting setbacks make me grumpy, and being an overall nice person to be around.
My trip is over, but I learned a huge lesson from it. Smiling changes us. Maybe some people can fake a smile, but I can’t. If I am going to smile, I have to change my attitude first. What a difference that little action made, both in my heart and across my face.
So I challenge you to smile today, especially when you don’t feel like it. Trust me, it will make a world of difference inside of you 🙂