Does a smile have the ability to change others?
Can a smile have an impact?
In 1993, the world needed something. It would be 1993 that two men, Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, released the “Chicken Soup for the Soul.” Chicken Soup for the Soul filled a gap in the world. The world that was hurting and needed to connect with stories that created hope for those who felt hopeless and nurtured people who were feeling lost and abandoned.
Chicken Soup for the Soul was a compilation of true stories and other stories that inspired readers by showing how others made a difference when it mattered most.
One story titled “A Simple Gesture,” penned by John W. Schlatter.
In John Schlatter’s story, he describes Bill and Mark. Bill was a nerdy guy who was bullied. One day Mark encountered Bill when he, Bill, was planning to kill himself. Mark smiled at Bill. It would be that simple gesture that helped Bill feel the compassion and sense of belonging he needed to stop his plan and begin living a positive life.
All because of a simple smile.
When we encounter people for the first time, we do not know what is happening in their lives. The same is true in our lives; they do not know what is going on in ours. One of the most beautiful things we can do, as a first impression, is to smile at them no matter what is going on in ours.
The act of smiling gives out energy which releases endorphins in our body designed to make us feel good. The experience of receiving a smile can change our mood, our perspectives, and our self-image.
What does a simple smile convey?
- It conveys that I see you.
- It conveys you are accepted.
- It conveys I like you.
- It conveys you matter.
Smiling is one of the fundamental and foundational ways we bond as human beings. When our children are babies, we connect with them from the moment they are born. As parents, we wait with anticipation to see that first genuine smile back.
This first smile back was a sign we are affecting our children’s learning. This shows us they know us, they like us and our communication is just beginning.
If you want a challenge, try these next steps, and see if you notice the impact it has on you and those around you.
(1) Choose a day when you are going to be in your community, around town, running errands or crossing paths with other people. Make it a point to look at each person you see in the eye and smile. Don’t worry if they have their head down, just look at them and smile. The chance that they look up and see a smiling face is great.
(2) When you see an employee in a store, smile at them. As you do wait for the smile back and greet them pleasantly. Remember, we do not know what they are going through. Many employees hear complaints all day long and you might be the first smiling face they see.
(3) Have you ever noticed how you feel when someone responds to your smile with one of their own. Notice how it feels when they don’t respond to your smile. When you feel the effects of a simple smile, it can leave a lasting impact, not just on others, but for you as well.
Who knows what a simple smile can do for someone?
It is a simple gesture each of us can do every day.
Will you smile today?
Just some thoughts,