I’ve been thinking about this amazing quote ever since a friend shared it with me a few days ago. Leave it to Roald Dahl, in his book The Twits, to speak such a universal and thought-provoking truth.
“If a person has ugly thoughts, it begins to show on the face. And when that person has ugly thoughts every day, every week, every year, the face gets uglier and uglier until you can hardly bear to look at it. A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”
Amen, Roald! That, to me, seems like the Law of Attraction mixed with karmic philosophy mixed with New Testament scripture mixed with the yogi zen lifestyle mixed with your facialist’s advice. But in all seriousness, I feel like I’ve seen what Roald Dahl is talking about, and I bet you do too.
Have you ever looked at someone and seen sunbeams shining back at you? Have you ever known someone who displayed such an immutable sense of peace, and goodness, and faith, that you could just see it displayed in his expression and body language? Have you ever looked at someone who is so overjoyed or so in love that her face was literally glowing?
I am blessed to know a few of these “sunbeam” people. People who weather serious illness, major life upheaval, the death of their nearest loved ones, and yet continue on, displaying a quiet and persistent sense of joy in life. My mother-in-law is this way. She has a peace about her that is intangible yet irrefutable. My best friend is this way. She has faced death and major life alterations and nasty break-ups with grace, and most surprisingly, smiles. My family’s priest is this way. He is a lovely man. His faith is something he lives quietly, rather than something that he talks about loudly. Knowing people like this can be inspiring, but it can also be incredibly humbling. These people remind me of just how much work I have to do on myself.
And the ugly thoughts? Of course we all wrestle with our own ugly thoughts. And of course no one can ever really know what another person goes through. But this quote is a great reminder of just how potent and influential those ugly thoughts can be, if we allow them to gain mastery over our daily lives. If the saying is true that “You are what you eat,” well, I think the same can be said that “You are what you think.” Your thoughts inform your words and your behavior.
I plan to make a concerted effort to smile today. At my husband, at my neighbor, at the person I don’t know who sells me my chapstick at the drug store. But even more than simply looking happy and grateful today, I actually intend to feel happy and grateful. Have a wonderful day!