Embrace the happy people, and stop criticizing them.

Happy people.

You know, those people with the smiles on their face, despite the kids hanging off them or the crummy weather or the baby spit up on their shirt. The people that seem to make it through life's storms untouched and who never seem to complain. I consider myself one of those happy people. After all, I created this blog with the name "joyful" for a reason. I like being happy!

How do I show I feel happy? I smile at others as they walk in the door; I comment on beautiful flowers and weather; I try to speak positively and encouragingly. I remind myself to compliment my children on the good choices they make, even on hard days when it seems like my house is a zoo. I look for blessings to be grateful for, and I want my home to feel peaceful and calm.

The characteristic of happiness is usually a sought out trait. Children seem to seek out happy playmates. We look for pleasant babysitters for our children. We expect our school teachers to be happy about nurturing our children's education. We may drift towards the check-out line of the smiling cashier, unconsciously expecting better customer service. "Service with a smile" is the slogan for a million companies, right?

However, I've noticed recently that being a "happy person" makes one a target for criticism and judgement. The individuals that walk into a room smiling are judged as naive, immature, and obviously inexperienced with life. I can recall two moments with university professors who docked my grade and personality because I smiled a lot. "Your bubbly personality makes you seem unintelligent," one professor said, despite my straight A's and the fact that I was President of the Psychology Society. Even as a mom today, I sometimes feel a shun from women my age who assume I've experienced nothing but roses and sunshine. It feels like my opinion is invalid, as if I am unqualified to comment because I am happy. Interestingly, it is the harsh voices, the snarky comments, and the sarcastic critical thinkers that seem to woo the masses.

When did society switch from valuing happiness to craving negativity? When did the phrase "misery loves company" expand from a pity party phone call to an ostracizing of happy people?

Happy people do experience hardships, but they choose to handle their trials differently.
Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I feel hurt. But I work through the issue and move on. I strive to feel happy more often than I feel down. I do not show a fake facade of happiness to make myself appear better than others; I try to show genuine joy.

Think about the recent interactions you've had with strangers, co-workers, or family members.
Do you run away from happy people?
Or do you run towards them?

Happy people are less likely to suffer from heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and depression. Optimistic people bounce back from stress more effectively and live longer. Finding joy in life can offer a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction at the end of a long day's work. I purport that happy people have advice and wisdom to share. By associating with people who display positive life outlooks, others can also feel uplifted. Instead of casting aside the comments of happy people, turn to them for help and comfort.

Ask the happy people around you what they do to feel happy. Listen to their answers, and use their applicable wisdom in your own life. Peace and fulfillment do not come through a negative attitude, so reach out to those smiling individuals. Avoid the temptation to dwell in negative circles of snarkiness, gossip, and judgement. Join the ranks of the happy people instead.