I don’t think that the saying “it doesn’t cost anything to smile” is true. It can cost a very great deal to get up, step outside, meet anyone’s gaze, smile, speak, even keep breathing, when you are crippled with anxiety, voices in your head, emotional pain, traumatic flashbacks and hurt or sadness that hits you any time, anywhere.
I believe in still trying. Through this cost, keep on trying to smile. Through the awful feelings, trying to do one little kind thing for another person and one little kind thing for ourselves. We may not succeed but the will is there. Only we ourselves and God may know the huge cost. Yet good will surely still come of the action, however small. We have taken an action opposite to our illness, opposite to the inclination of our anxiety and hurt, choosing goodness and strength.
This is a small victory and a small step forward in hope.
I emphasise that I do not mean we should try to push away what we are feeling, deny it or tell ourselves we mustn’t feel it or aren’t allowed to. Far from it. We should do quite the opposite. But every little action done in love – for others and ourselves – is a choice for good. When we are suffering very much and when it costs very much to smile, then every smile and every action is worth all the more because it is necessarily done with greater effort and greater love.
What makes you feel loved? How do you love?