I am not a very good smiler. I have to think about it too much. It’s not that I’m not happy, it’s just that I’m not smiley. As I process the approximately 9,000 things in my brain, I tend to look kind of scowly, actually. I furrow my brow in what I consider an expression of “thoughtful concentration”, but it translates “grump”. My mom told me this for a number of years by instructing me to “relax my brow”. It annoyed me that she thought I looked grouchy when I wasn’t, which did not do any favors for my grouchy look. At a high school reunion a few years ago, a classmate captured that look in one of his photos. Yep. I looked like a grump, even though I wasn’t. Mom was right.
I’ve been trying to work on this, because I know that smiling is an simple, effective gift that I can give to other people. I have been sooooo blessed by the smiles of so many of my friends, and I’m slightly jealous of the ones who appear to smile so easily. There is nothing like meeting a friend and seeing their face light up with a beautiful smile just because they see me. It’s humbling really, and it never fails to warm my heart.
I have even been blessed by the smiles of strangers. I think of the nurses and doctors who have taken the time to look me in the eye and offer a warm smile when they know I am afraid. I think of bank tellers and grocery store clerks and customer service reps who have had long days of sometimes unhappy customers and who have still taken the time to smile when it’s my turn in line. Especially now, when so many people are looking down when they walk, it’s nice to see folks look up, make eye contact and smile. It truly is a gift they give.
Challenge: Look up. Make eye contact. Smile. Repeat.