A Smile Can Be the Source

 In Weekly Forum Discussion

Trying to pick one single thing I want to see more of in the world made me think. How could I distill all the thoughts crowding into my mind on this topic into one word, one thing, one special item that summed it all up?

What makes understanding, acceptance, seeing ability in a disability, taking charge of our own actions or even just beginning some type of change in myself all fit together? I realized that the one thing I talked about before in a post, the thing I like about myself is also something that I would love to see more of in the world – smiles.

Christie Brinkley said, “Share your smile with the world. It’s a symbol of friendship and peace.” I concur and I believe with peace and friendship comes understanding, acceptance and accountability.

Smiling does not mean that life is not difficult beyond imagination or that personal struggles don’t threaten to overwhelm you. It just means that for one moment in time you choose to find a glimpse of joy, a reason to smile or you attempt to push the good to the forefront. It might be the giggle and smile of a toddler passing by with their parent that pulls you into a realm of peacefulness and joy. Who can resist the smile and giggles of a little one so full of innocence and fun?

A Swedish psychology study by Sonnby-Borgstrom in 2002 on automatic mimic reactions found that when subjects looked at pictures showing various emotions they tended to mimic the emotion. Even when told to frown while looking at a picture of a smile, they could not keep the smile from creeping on to their face. Smiling is contagious.

There’s magic in a smile. It can be a light that draws others into a better space. It brightens your day and that of others. I read how studies are showing that smiling can boost immune systems, relax you, relieve stress and lift your mood. Something so simple and free does so much – why don’t we smile more often?

Smiling makes you approachable. Denis Waitley said, “A smile is the light in your window that tells others that there is a caring, sharing person inside.” Wow. I like that. I believe that. I try and live that. I want to invite others in. I want to show compassion. I want the world to know the benefits of a smile.

Anger diminishes as smiles increase. How do you yell at someone with a genuine smile on your face? How do you hate another person or think them beneath you when you have a smile that begins in your heart and gleams from your eyes? How do you not want to try and understand someone else when you carry a smile each day?

There are days we might not feel like smiling but we try to paste one on our face when we meet others. Thich Nhat Hanh said, “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” Sometimes we need to fake it until we make it to the point of a genuine, heart felt, eye crinkling smile.

Go ahead and smile. Do it every day. Do it around others or as you look in the mirror. Who knows, a giggle or two might erupt on good days. Smiling is contagious and what a wonderful world it would be if more people sported an infectious smile.

Written by: Carol Harrison; Carol’s Corner

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