The other day I called the Sandals Resort to confirm our reservation for December. When they answered the phone, I heard something like this: “Welcome to Sandals, the only all-inclusive Caribbean resort. How can I make you smile today?” What a way to answer the phone! I thought about it all day and decided that I needed to incorporate that view into my own life. Beyond that idea, I thought about all the couples I see in my counseling practice and imagined what their lives would be like if they asked that question every day to each other.
An offer like that won’t work if you don’t know your significant other very well. Many of us assume that whatever makes us happy also makes our partner happy. Being aware of our differences and acknowledging them in a romantic way can be a special form of appreciation. So rather than playing your favorite music, play some songs that are not on your private hit parade. Something your partner would enjoy. Could you take your partner to a restaurant that he or she loves more than you or find a form of recreation that your partner might have given up because it isn’t first on your list? Do you love your partner as an individual, enough to respond affirmatively if she or he says, “Can we see that movie I mentioned?” even when you don’t particularly care for the genre? Remember what’s important here is not the hour or two of enjoyment you might have had (or given up). It’s creating a foundation and recognition of your partner’s love language that creates unshakable love, and it doesn’t have to cost a thing. Find the things that makes your partner smile and feel loved. They are often free: be creative!
If you are feeling a little bored with your life, or feeling discouraged or blue, imagine waking up each day, turning to your significant other, saying good morning, and then tenderly adding, “How can I make you smile today?”
Many studies have been done on positive psychology, and its impact on happiness. A smiling face usually signifies a happy emotion. Look at the symbols for emotions on any Smartphone or other technical device and you will find smiling faces. People tend to add them to texts, emails and Instagrams…Why? Because it sends a positive signal to the recipient, and who doesn’t like to receive a positive message? If an emoticon can give someone a bit of cheer, a unique gesture, straight from your heart will be like an unexpected holiday, one dedicated to celebrating each other.
Psychologist Dr. Dan Baker, in his book What Happy People Know, lists the twelve qualities of happiness. Baker has devoted his life to teaching people how to be happy despite hard-wiring in our core, primitive brain that tends to keep us in a state of fear to cope with danger. In his positive psychology, Baker found the following qualities to help someone experience lasting, rock-solid happiness that endures even when life gets tough (as it always does sooner or later): Love, Optimism, Courage, A Sense of Freedom, Proactivity, Security, Health, Spirituality, Altruism, Perspective, Humor, and Purpose. I can’t guarantee that all of these will become part of your life, but in all probability your life will improve by incorporating these ideals and starting each day with, “How can I make you smile today?”