Question: I’ve been happier than ever since finding Jesus, but I still have problems and sometimes get quite down. My friends try to cheer me up and tell me to “put on my happy face,” but how can I smile and look happy when I really don’t feel that way? Wouldn’t that be hypocritical?
Answer: It is not being hypocritical to put on a happy face even when you don’t feel happy. It’s a sign of inner strength and maturity. It shows you realize that whatever is dragging you down at the moment is relatively small in the grand scope of things, and that it will pass.
It’s loving and considerate to be cheerful around others, smiling even when you don’t really feel like it. It’s considerate to try not to allow your facial expression to drag other people down with you or send a wrong signal, as though you’re down because you don’t like being around them.
Acting more positive than you feel also does you good and will often help bring you out of your funk.
Of course, the best thing would be to get over whatever it is that’s getting you down, and the best first step in that direction is usually to talk it over with Jesus and ask Him to help you fix the problem. If there is someone else who might be able to help you sort things out, it may also be good to talk with them. There’s a time to look pleasant and smile—which is most of the time when you’re with others—but there’s also a time to turn to the Lord and others for help.1
For most of life, nothing wonderful happens. If you don’t enjoy getting up and working and finishing your work and sitting down to a meal with family or friends, then the chances are that you’re not going to be very happy. If someone bases his happiness or unhappiness on major events like a great new job, huge amounts of money, a flawlessly happy marriage or a trip to Paris, that person isn’t going to be happy much of the time. If, on the other hand, happiness depends on a good breakfast, flowers in the yard, a drink or a nap, then we are more likely to live with quite a bit of happiness.
—Andy Rooney (1919–2011), American radio and television writer