“The way sadness works is one of the strange riddles of the world. If you are stricken with a great sadness, you may feel as if you have been set aflame, not only because of the enormous pain, but also because your sadness may spread over your life, like smoke from an enormous fire. You might find it difficult to see anything but your own sadness, the way smoke can cover a landscape so that all anyone can see is black. You may find that if someone pours water all over you, you are damp and distracted, but not cured of your sadness, the way a fire department can douse a fire but never recover what has been burnt down.”—Lemony Snicket
“Truth is what is true, and it’s not necessarily factual. Truth and fact are not the same thing. Truth does not contradict or deny facts, but it goes through and beyond facts. This is something that it is very difficult for some people to understand. Truth can be dangerous.”—Madeleine L’Engle
1. Smile. A lot. And then smile some more on top of that. Practice your smile, don’t let it get rusty and out of shape. Smile at everyone, even if they don’t smile back. Especially if they don’t smile back. If someone gets annoyed at your smiling, smile bigger.
2. Talk. Whenever you find yourself next to someone, start a conversation. This includes people at the gas station, on the bus next to you, in an audition hall, or in line at the supermarket. Start a conversation by introducing yourself. This helps them to feel like you’re not a random stranger, and indicates that you’re interested in a real relationship, rather than just making a random comment and moving on.
3. Make eye contact. Guess what? People aren’t robots, or cars, or vegetables. Each one is an individual. See them as that, rather than rushing past, trying hard to be invisible. Greet everyone as an individual as much as possible. When you’re walking down the street or the grocery aisle make eye contact, smile and nod, as though greeting an old friend. Your smile is wasted if no one sees it.
4. Be helpful. Did someone drop their bag four aisles down from you? Be the first one there to help pick it up! When a child is lost and crying, don’t rush past, stop and help. Do you notice trouble going on? Don’t stand back like a curious spectator; see if there is something you can do to help sort it out.