11

August

Happy is Contagious

Wednesday August 11, 2021


An occasional luxury, which becomes a necessity when I am ill, is grocery shopping online with home delivery.

Because every supermarket has a different layout and shopping in the unfamiliar is stressful, I also treat myself to an online grocery shop and delivery when we go away.

This time, there was no delivery slot available; instead, I could “click and collect.”

I took my younger daughter with me to collect the groceries and we were lucky, there was no queue. The assistant was a red-haired and bearded young giant with a huge smile and a soft voice who couldn’t have been more helpful or charming. He called us both “My Lovely” without affectation or creepiness, and in no time at all we heard about his brother, who is six feet seven, how his family moved here from Watford, and how he loves the slower pace of life here. His obvious enjoyment in the simple task of helping us pick up the groceries gave us both a warm glow. We left with the mirror image of his smile on our own faces and some of his happiness in our hearts.

Humans are social creatures. Even those of us who are profoundly introverted need human interaction through the internet and social media, or even just TV or books. When we meet other humans, even through the screen, some of what they are is caught by us and some of what we are rubs off on them.

It is said, when you laugh the world laughs with you; when you cry, you cry alone. I do not altogether believe this to be true, as it is my experience that good friends all rally around in support when you are down. Possibly it is true that we wish to be alone when we cry. Maybe there is shame at admitting weakness or little energy to cope with the presence of others. I think we are also reluctant to inflict our own misery on others because we feel it is selfish. Empathic people can take our emotion into themselves: our pain causes them pain.

Yet, when we look around it seems that some people have been blessed with more than their share of happiness; they always seem to have a smile on their face. This might, however, be because we only see that side of them. When people who knew him speak of my father, they remember him as a “jolly fellow” who always wore a huge grin. Only his close family knew the other side; the deep depressions which led him to take his own life. When I was speaking to a casual friend whom I see only a few times a year, she commented that she had never seen me anything but bubbly and bouncy. Very few, apart from you Moodscopers, see the bad times.

Perhaps it is good that we share our joy without restraint, and keep our pain within our intimate circle: the world needs more happy.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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