(Aimee Mann again.)

So I was watching 7th Heaven this afternoon. Yeah, I know, it can be really corny, but at the same time, if you give it a chance, it reminds you of all the good that’s in life. We can get so caught up in what’s wrong that we forget to look for the silver lining. Life is never fair &emdash; anyone who tells you different is either crazy or trying to sell something &emdash; but the moment you dwell on the unfairness, you’ve started the downward slide. These days, you’ve got therapists and psychoanalysts and a myriad of drugs that are supposed to keep you from taking that path, but what can they really do? I’m not trying to belittle the effect that these things can have, because I’ve tried them all along the way, but when you get down to it, why do I need a stranger to tell me that I’m, for lack of a better word, more or less normal?

Anyway, I was talking about 7th Heaven, right? In this episode, everyone was in a bad mood about something; all the poor, starving people in the world, an argument with a girlfriend, being left out of the crowd, leaving people out of the crowd, you name it, and those blues kept spreading and building back on each other until the mother told Simon to smile and find just one person to help for a start. Once he started smiling, the smile took over his mood. Inevitably, it spread to the rest of the family who began to work on their own problems. Sometimes happiness only needs one little foothold.

Trite, you say? Not really. We are what we think. If we let our problems drag us down, then it becomes a circle that feeds on itself. Sometimes being happy really can be as simple as thinking happy thoughts, and I don’t think we need to pay a psychiatrist to get that. Humans have been here for thousands of years and, for the most part, life has improved. We’re never perfect and some problems continue to plague us, but we can’t worry about them all the time.

Start small.

My living circumstances have been pretty average, but my emotional life has taken some pretty hard hits of loneliness over the years. I love my family and I’m grateful for them, but too often I get stuck on the parts that I don’t have; more personal relationships with the people around me, love, etc. I don’t know if I can unbuild certain walls, but you never know. Maybe it’s time to just smile for a while. It’s not easy, but neither is walking around in a funk. Let’s toss the coin and see which side comes up.

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