“A cheerful spirit is a sign of strength.” ~ Ralph Emerson

 

I had eaten to my heart’s content. Where I was, in an old fifties’ style diner that played ’80s music on its surround speakers, the food was great and the service, impeccable. Feeling satisfied, I asked for the bill.

 

Meanwhile, an elderly couple walks into the diner. Accompanied by his wife, an old gentleman is walking with a spring in his step and a bright smile on his face.

 

He points to the table next to me and says,  “I want this one! I love round tables! Do you know why?”

 

I smile; his sunny disposition is infectious. “I don’t. Why?”

 

His eyes twinkle in anticipation of a good joke. He answers, “Because I don’t like being cornered!”

 

I burst out laughing with him. To me, this gentleman is being a warm ray of sunshine brightening up my life.

 

Being cheerful is being a warm ray of sunshine.

 

But his wife looks at me reproachfully. She sighs, feeling annoyed. “Don’t encourage him!” she flatly tells me.

 

Her attitude puzzles me. I start feeling cross with her because I am thinking, ‘Don’t you know how lucky you are? For God’s sake, he is happy!’

 

Realizing that I had quickly moved into discontent, I wonder, “Who does she remind me of?”

 

I don’t know about you but, growing up,  I was taught that being cheerful was unacceptable and that there was such a thing as ‘too much’ cheerfulness. As a result, I often told myself that there was something phoney about someone being cheerful. Can you relate?

 

Back in the diner, I turn my attention to the elderly gentleman. I say to him, “I love your joke! You are funny. Thank you for the laughter.”

 

The elderly gentleman brightens up even more. “I’ve got another one for you!” and he tells me this funny joke about an elderly woman who refuses to pull-over for speeding because she was knitting a pair of socks.

 

I find this elderly gentleman so cheerful that I keep laughing with him as he tells me more and more jokes.

 

At some point, his wife looks at me reproachfully.  “I told you NOT to encourage him!” she blurted out.

 

I stand up and shake the gentleman’s hand, with a bright smile on my face.  “You made my day! Thank you for the laughter!” I say to him gratefully.

 

Let me ask you …

What stops us from being cheerful?

 

I believe the answer is, because we think there’s something too much about being utterly happy. If that is true, how will we become cheerful if we think there’s something off, awkward, weird, or too much about expressing our cheerfulness?

 

Clearly, we must embrace our cheerfulness in order to be/remain cheerful.

 

With that in mind …

 

Here are three (3) tips to assist you in remaining cheerful in the face of discontent:

  • Ask yourself, “What does being cheerful mean to me?” Make a list of your beliefs around cheerfulness and examine those beliefs closely. For example, is there such a thing as too much cheerfulness? If you believe there is, then, by opposition, is there such a thing as too little cheerfulness? What is the right balance of cheerfulness? What would that look like for you?

 

  • Emulate people who inspire you. Cheerfulness is infectious; it makes us laugh and relax. Around cheerful people, we let go and become more in tune with our spirit. The old gentleman remained cheerful even though his wife kept asking us to stop this “nonsense” of laughter. Who in your life life inspires you to become more cheerful? Spend time with that person regularly.

 

  • Have an accountability partner. If being cheerful is challenging for you, have an accountability partner who can assist you in safely addressing what makes you feel undeserving of cheerfulness. That person will help you see the areas in your life that need brightening up. No one does this work alone because we all have blind spots.

 

Now that you have read those tips …

 

What do you believe would be your greatest challenge?

 

My name is Anne Beaulieu and I am an Emotional Intelligence coach who assists her clients in embracing cheerfulness as something wonderful to experience for themselves and the people they love. I can reached at https://walkinginside.com/contact-us/

 

Your EQ coach,

Anne

 

Photo by JD Mason on Unsplash