A happy heart makes the face cheerful.

A cheerful look brings joy to the heart.

Proverbs 15:13, 30

If you read the verses above carefully you’ll discover that joy is reciprocal. Are you happy because you smile or do you smile because you are happy? The verses above would answer: Yes. Both. If you are cheerful, you will smile; if you smile, you will be cheerful. Symbiotic. Intertwined. You can choose your mood.

There’s a lot of people who don’t believe that! It keeps me in business I suppose. It’s a difficult concept to teach. Most people that come to see me absolutely believe that if they are in a bad mood, they have to stay in a bad mood. They think: If I am unhappy in my marriage I MUST convey to my spouse that I am disappointed in him or her. There’s some parents that operate on the same principle. I’m not sure what the self-talk is that goes on in a person’s head that tells them that if your loved one’s disappoint you, you need to let them know in no uncertain terms that they disappoint you. If I’m scowling at you I ought to expect that you will scowl at me. Why is this surprising?

Here’s a quick and easy way to ruin your family and then you can blame everyone else. It’s good to be king. It’s good to have power over your own little world:

-look for things in your spouse or children that disappoint you

-when you find them (they are everywhere!) rejoice you have reasons to scoff, to criticize, to put down, to mock

-look at them with disdain

-let them know they disappoint you

-when they look at you the same way, get mad

-blame them for pushing your buttons and making you mad, say so. Many times. With vigor. Repeat.

-storm around the house acting all mature and superior

-frequently yell. That’s the ticket. Let them know who’s boss. You aren’t gonna take no crap

-flay your arms around

-roll your eyes

-shake your head

-make that scoffing noise

-leave the room

-stare off into space. Make sure that you don’t let them know that they are affecting you in any way. Be stubborn and determined to not let them influence you.

-start saving money for your lawyer (you’re going to need it)

Or you could try the cheerful spirit approach:

-if you are in a bad mood come home with a smile anyway

-ignore the mess

-say hello, I missed you, and give a hug, even if you don’t feel like it

-ask how she’s doing and really listen, even if you’re tired

-comment positively, even if you are feeling a little blue

-if she’s a bit testy for whatever reason, ask what’s up

-if she’s too upset to answer, let her know you are there for her whenever she’s ready to talk or sit quietly by her side

-pick up the house (a good way to pick up your mood)

-if your kids are acting like crazy people, grab them all in a heap and play “pile on daddy” for awhile and feel your stress leave your body

-laugh at your kids’ glee

-notice you are no longer in a bad mood

-lead by example

-rejoice in the good, look for the positive, scoff at negativity, conquer the world

-marvel that after awhile your family looks forward to you coming home

-count your blessings

-notice the load is lighter

-ponder your spirit is brighter

-wonder at the power you have to plant seeds of joy

-be a seed planter of the type of fruit you want

-harvest your crop

-claim your reward

-don’t let anyone else give you a negative spirit

-repeat

-repeat

-repeat

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Dr. Bing Wall is a marriage therapist with a practice in Ames and Urbandale, Iowa.  To set up a time to see Dr. Wall click here or call 888-233-8473.  For more information about Dr. Wall click here.

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