If you chance to meet a frown, respect it.

If you chance to meet a frown,
Do not let it stay.
Quickly turn it upside down
And smile that frown away.
No one likes a frowning face.
Change it for a smile.
Make the world a better place
By smiling all the while.
I probably learned this song when I was three-years old.  I disagree with it.  Negative feelings are legitimate and valuable and doctrinally solid.  They aren’t necessarily a sign that anything is wrong.  They are a sign that life isn’t always fun and games.  As mentioned in a podcast episode I was listening to earlier today, Jesus in the Garden wasn’t (probably) smiling while begging God to release him from what he was there to do, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t okay for him to do it.

Also, when it comes to depression, you can’t just smile depression away.  Sometimes, making choices to do things that feel good can help break out of a depressed moment, but smiling will no more do away with depression than it would do as a substitute for anesthetic during surgery.

To the degree that we have an explicit covenant for baptism, it is found in Mosiah 18:8-10, and it has us agreeing to mourn with those that mourn, not to brow-beat them into smiling their frowns away.  And negative feelings serve to make our positive feelings sweeter in contrast, a la 2 Ne 2:11.  Without them, we must be as dead, according to Lehi.  The recent Pixar/Disney film Inside Out shows how important it is to keep Sad involved with experiences to make them rich and meaningful.

So, if you chance to meet a frown,
respect it.
All feelings are valid, and worthy of respect,
even if they are unpleasant and hard to understand.

One thought on “If you chance to meet a frown, respect it.

  1. I so love that you researched and wrote this. Being a person who deals with some of those issues myself, mourning is a very healthy way if learning to cope and grow from sad experiences and feelings, to overcoming, conquering them and having the ability to grow and move closer to the Lord. All things have opposites, good vs evil, sad vs happiness etc. How COULD WE EVER be of understanding or help to another if we can’t understand. This is why I Love the teachings if our loving Heavenly Father who is all knowing and I believe He KNOWS ALL these things very well Himself.

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