Smiles are pretty awesome.
They generally come to us spontaneously, a happy, observable expression of joy or pleasure or contentment. A genuine smile touches anyone on the receiving end, too, usually evoking a similar response of happiness or pleasure. Good for everyone!
Even alone, perhaps reading a book or working on a project, when a smile comes to us, it is a small moment of transformation or illumination – an irrepressible flow of goodness that expresses through our face.
My best friend cat smiles at me. I don’t quite know how he does it, but he does. When he smiles at me, I just kind of melt with my own smile of love and happiness.
A dog that I visit regularly smiles, too. It is a ridiculously goofy, extravagant smile and simply wonderful to receive. There is no being down in the face of that smile.
Out and about, we come across strangers, some of whom acknowledge us with a smile, and many remaining aloof. The smilers change our day for a few moments, just lifting the spirit for a little way.
I have a couple of acquaintances who are big smilers. They smile all the time. There’s nothing fake about it, either. Their smiles are an expression of their personalities – positive, forward-looking, accepting, generous, fun. Their smile is kind of a habit. It affects everyone around them.
That’s not to say that people who don’t smile all the time are not all those things. I know plenty of non-smilers who are warm and fun and generous, too, and their smiles are all the more precious to receive.
I remember sitting in a waiting room at a doctor’s office years ago. I was kind of miserable. An older woman came and checked in. She was smiling. She took her seat in the waiting room, still smiling. Time passed, she smiled the entire time. I have no idea who that woman was, and I never spoke to her, but all these years later I remember her simply for that constant smile. I marveled that her inner state of being expressed itself outwardly like that. Even though we did not overtly communicate, she brought some peace and reassurance into the room with that smile.
No one likes a forced smile, nevertheless, I’ve been working on being a little more conscious about smiling. As a ridiculously introverted, overthinking sort of person, I don’t think I am much of a smiler. I tend to rather seriously and intently listen to other people – I am trying to remember to smile more during those times. That would be a true reflection of my feelings, too, because I am generally very appreciative of others and all that I learn from them.
Even when I’m alone, I’ve noticed I can change how I feel by smiling. Tasks are a little easier to do with a smile. I can make myself feel more optimistic or adventurous by smiling. I encourage myself when I smile.
Hey, it’s free and it’s easy. Why wouldn’t I?
Maybe I will have to tie a little string around my finger, just to remind me for awhile, while I develop my practice.