“Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it’s breaking”

“Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness”

“Smile, what’s the use of crying?”

Smile, Nat King Cole

More than once while driving, I would hear this song and its variants, and those particular lines bug me.

They tell you to smile, even if your heart’s not in it, or worse, “though your heart is aching”. They tell to smile, and not to cry, “what’s the use”?

And yet to deny your feelings, to repress them, isn’t good for your mental state, in the long term.

I have recently (re)-learned the concept of “do it even if you don’t feel like it”, a way to get things done or feel a slight sense of accomplishment, to write that novel despite not feeling the magic. The context of the above links are more about motivation and “flow”, but I think it can still work when it comes to handling feelings of personal heartbreak and disappointment. Just not at the cost of negatively repressing your feelings.

So, I think it makes more sense if you say:

Smile, despite your true feelings.

Not so that you can pretend they’re not there, but to put them aside temporarily because you need to move on with your day.

Then, later, take some time to examine and do something about your feelings.

It’s a mouthful though. 😛

Of course the rest of the song is actually more about how, even though there are bad times, these will pass. So it may just be a different message that I’m interpreting, lol.

These are some of the things I tend to ponder upon when driving alone. 😛