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When I was a teenager, I battled depression. In the early nineties, I tried listening to Tony Robbins for some perspective on what I was going through and what could help me out of the abyss I felt I was buried under. I enjoyed the information presented, but it didn’t help me as immediately as I’d hoped.

Eventually, the worst had passed.

Now, twenty years later, I remember just one thing from those recordings. Smile!

Tony had mentioned that it was difficult to feel sad for long if you just smiled. As a teenager, this sounded great. So, I put on my mechanical smile and waited for the catharsis. But it didn’t come.

As an adult, I have eons more patience and now deeply agree with Tony’s advice to my childhood self. But why do I agree if it didn’t work for me? The physical and mental postures we put ourselves in can mean our eventual change into a person not always looking for things to be unsatisfactory or flawed. The key word here is “eventual.” As a kid, I mistakenly waited just a couple minutes to feel a difference. The waiting wasn’t the mistake. The mistake was the expectation of immediate gratification. So, I continued to wait, trying new ways to smile, both physically and mentally.

Eventually, all that practice and waiting helped me become a person eagerly seeking to find the “opportunity for growth” in things that I failed at miserably, in addition to the things I perfected on the first try. And now, I still don’t claim to be perfect at anything. Our human experience isn’t meant to be perfect. But pointing myself in the direction of that unattainable perfection is my practice. So, I continue to smile. I continue to work on my physical posture, with my shoulders back and head held high. If I don’t do this, I simply don’t feel as good, just as Tony had said. I continue to work on my mental posture.

For all of this is practice. And any good practice requires repetition, refinement, and waiting.

The only “perfect” to attain is the practice itself. Keep smiling.


Jason Moskovitz, L.Ac., Dipl.O.M. is an author, teacher, and board licensed practitioner of acupuncture and Chinese medicine. He is currently in practice and heads the Tao of Wellness in Newport Beach, where he specializes in integrative reproductive medicine, integrative oncology, pain/inflammation, and anti-aging medicine. Certified in nutrition, Infinichi energy healing, qigong, and tai chi, Jason utilizes a wide range of modalities in his clinical practice. He completed his undergraduate studies at UCLA and graduate studies and residency at Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Venice Family Clinic. Jason has been an active member of the faculty at Yo San University and is the author of Meditation for Emotional Detoxification and co-author of Arthritis: Secrets of Natural Healing. To learn more, visit his website TaoOfWellness.com.

*Photo Credit: deVos via Compfight cc