I wrote Never Regret a Smile a little over a year ago: November 30, 2016. My format and writing style have evolved a bit from even that long ago. My opinions have only strengthened.
The kpop community is reeling today with the news of SHINee lead singer, Kim Jong-hyun's, suicide. At a personal level, it’s reminding me of all the self-inflicted or otherwise untimely deaths I’ve seen through the years, back to the suicide of a former classmate in my college days. The wrenching sadness, loss and regret can never be forgotten entirely.
There it is: regret.
I wrote in Never Regret a Smile that we should base our lives on joy, happiness and wonder. If someone dies young doing that, we can at least have that condolence as we grieve. If someone dies young and we see they were clearly not experiencing joy, happiness and wonder, the knife twists in our own guts more keenly. Why? Because we know we failed them at some level.
People don’t intentionally kill themselves when they are happy.
Never Regret a Smile came from the perspective of self: don’t be afraid to enjoy something that others might think of as silly. From the perspective of other, it takes on a whole new meaning:
You’ll never regret offering someone else compassion in the form of a smile.
Maybe it’s not a face-to-face smile. Maybe it’s a card or encouraging meme. Maybe it’s a hug- real or emoji. Maybe it’s holding a door open. Maybe it’s a grateful tweet to someone who said something you appreciated on Twitter. Maybe it’s a totally random positive you voice somewhere, that someone who needs it takes in by chance.
Some people fly high and far. Most of us don’t, but we still do have a circle of influence that we control. Many of us teeter on the edge at some point or another and just need a helpful hand.
We can all be a helpful hand.
I wrote all of this before watching the video Dr. Pooky Knightsmith just posted on Youtube called 5 things it's helpful to know if your friend is depressed. I am not and cannot make any connections between Kim Jung-hyun and any diagnosis of any kind. Dr. Knightsmith is a knowledgeable expert in the field of mental health and I am simply offering her as someone I feel has some great general tips any of us can practice. Just as I’ve stated here, Dr. Knightsmith says at the end of this video, “It’s sometimes the small things that make a big difference.”.
Small things. Like smiles.