My outer monologue, yes, monologue, at work in the morning: "Good morning!" smile. "How are you?" smile. "Do you know the answer? ...Oh, so close!" smile. "Have a good day!" smile.
It's ridiculous, and I mean, absolutely ludicrous how far ahead in the game you can get with these simple steps. You can literally draw a line down the middle of my staff roster and divide everyone by who I like and who I don't like--all the people who I like have one basic thing in common, and it can be summed up in this list. Here's a preview: "Good morning! Have a good weekend! Gosh darn, class was hard today, wasn't it?" smile. smile. smile.
And here it is:
How to Enjoy Your Day without Trying Very Hard:
1. Smile. At People.
I spend a good chunk of my day 8-hour work day in a tiny, personal bubble. People inside my bubble: people who speak English. People outside of my bubble: people who don't. Population of said bubble: me. What can I do to communicate with the outside world? Smile. At people. Who are looking at me. Unless they are babies. Or dogs. It's not weird to smile at babies or dogs when they're not looking at you.
2. Smile everyday.
I make it a point to smile every day with every person I pass on my way to school or in the school halls. I make eye contact, smile, and greet them in one language or another. I may get much too little sleep for my own good, I may too often be recovering from a fun weekend all week long, and I may get impatient with my job more often than I like it, but! ...Mood sour, muscles sore, or brain sleepy--I smile anyway.
I gotta stress that "every day" (or at least, somewhat, reasonably, a little bit often) part though; otherwise, people will assume you're living in morning happy land after getting your twice-a-year bump in the night with a person in a bed if you catch my drift and I think you do. Awwww yiiiissss.
3. Fake it.
I always start off fake smiling in the morning. We're talking really, really fake. I'm 100% sure that I'm doing the opposite of what Tyra Banks taught us all on AMNTM (smile with your eyes, ladies!): flashing pearly whites while being dead in the eyes.
I learned that my Fakey McFakerson smile that would make the Captain on HIMYM proud is better than pretending not to see the ONE OTHER PERSON passing by you in the hall which is, oh, I don't know, ONE A HALF SHOULDER WIDTHS WIDE.
You gotta start your day off smiling. Be cheerful. Be cheesy. You know why? Because eventually (...give it time...) one of those poor souls you flashed your angel grin to--with or without your I-want-to-murder-you eyes--is going to smile back. And it will make you feel good.
Maybe even happy.
It might even make you smile for realsies.
And that's when the magic happens.
4. Be Helpful and Hopeless (sometimes).
After steps 1-3, people will start approaching you for small talk. They may sit and have coffee with you. They might even offer you help when you have that look on your face that you get when you can't understand the instructions on the copy machine because it's in Japanese, though not really because it's in Japanese, but rather because of the 156,302 copy machines you've used at different schools and offices, you can't figure out how to refill the damn ink and find the jammed sheet of paper, no matter what language the copier is in. They will help, and they'll do so with pleasure. People start smiling back and you feel like you might have them convinced that you are a mentally balanced human being. And then, when someone else needs help with something (with caring a piece of paper in the direction which you were going anyway, perhaps), smile and offer a hand. Smile. Be kind. Things will happen. Oh, and best of all, one, maybe two, of your hormone-raging, teenaged students might somewhat express that he/she doesn't totally hate you all of the time.
5. Be Surrounded by People Who Appreciate Your Good Cheer.
I might just have it easy living in a society where donning an I'll-be-darned-would-ya-look-at-that grin all the live long day is not the norm. ...Yeah, OK, it's not the norm anywhere, but smiling at strangers, coworkers, students, and even for cameras is a bit foreign here. For the past two yearbook photos, I'm the only person of twelve smiling in the English department photo. It's so foreign to smile as often as I do here, that people seriously take notice. True story: my coworker told me that a couple of insurance ladies were in the office the day before, asking where I was because I was out for the day. "Insurance ladies? ...I don't know any insurance ladies..." says me. "Really? They described you perfectly and they seemed to know who you are. They said that you're always really nice to them--always smiling," says he. I have no idea who he's talking about, and have never talked to these ladies in my life, but hey. Cool.
Anyway, whether or not you're an idiot like me and decided to pack all your things up and live in a country whose language you--whoops!--don't speak, I think being likable, meeting new people, and enjoying your day can be sweet and simple. Smile and greet; smile and offer help; smile and ask for help; smile and rinse, lather, repeat.
6. Stick to it.
You gotta try it out--the smiling thing--for a good, like, one to five years to see if it works though. If, by the end of the trial period, people still don't like you and you're unhappy and hate your life, well, keep smiling because maybe you haven't been doing it for long enough yet.
OK, that's all. Bye.
Images: By the way, I stole all these images, but hey, Google made it really easy for me. If you know who any of the original creators of these images are, good luck, maybe mention their name in the comments below so they can receive credit for--dare I say it? Sharing their smiles with the world. :D :D HAW HAW.