In a town hall meeting at work the other day, the CEO of our company said: “If you don’t like your job, if you walk down the hallways with a sour face, don’t bother to come to work. We don’t want you.”

Harsh as it may seem, there’s a basic truth in it. People don’t want to be around Negative Nellies. Why are bubbly people always popular? Because their happiness lifts everyone else’s moods. I’m the kind of person who smiles a lot. AIthough I couldn’t say I’m bubbly, exactly, I like to smile and as a child I was called “the girl who always smiles.” Until someone told me NO, of course. Then I cried.

However, this smiling, happy persona is not a permanent state of mind for me. Like everyone else, I get annoyed, stressed out, and sometimes I’m just tired. I work a lot, I like to work a lot, but I always seem to take on more than I can handle and it wears me out.

What I did think about this week, though, is how different people treat me when I’m not smiling and happy. It’s like I have an obligation to others to stay positive. I struggle with this, sometimes, I feel sorry for myself that I don’t seem to have the right to be down. But what’s the real solution? Of course I, too, would benefit from being in a good mood all the time. And perhaps this “obligation” is a lesson for me to try to see the positive in every situation (which I usually do), even when I’m tired?

Food for thought. Something I work on and try to improve.

But those days, when I happen to smile at strangers spontaneously, and they smile back … how wonderful that connection feels, even if it’s just fleeting.

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