Sometimes the simplest thing can be one of the hardest yet also the most effective things to do for yourself and others.
The first piece of homework I give to my Adult Education Students who come on my Tool Box for Managing Anxiety Course is to SMILE at people as they walk down the road. The majority of the students balk at the idea and often they say - “People will look at me as if I am weird”.
Happily most of them do give it a go and to their utmost surprise most people SMILE back, some even start conversations. I also say to them that if someone doesn't SMILE back then maybe they too are having a day just like my students experience, this is often a revelation to them that they are not alone in having bad days.
What does a SMILE mean? My Dad used to quote “SMILE and the world SMILES with you, cry and you cry alone”, and many of you will know that it takes more muscles to frown than it does to SMILE.
So here is my definition of a SMILE.
S – Sunny
M – Meaningful
I – Inclusive
L – Love
E – Enjoy
Lets explore this a bit further:
Sunny – White teeth exposed and brighten up the day, an instant feeling of the spirits lifting, and you can't help but SMILE back.
Meaningful – Someone has given you a moment of their time, they are sending you good intentions, you get the good vibrations from their energy.
Inclusive – a SMILE cuts across all divides
Love – Universal love for the human race, giving a gift without expectation of one in return – remember they may be having a bad day.
Enjoy – The feel good factor, especially when they do SMILE back.
As I write this we are in the middle of a COVID-19 lockdown so you may think if we are wearing masks no-one can see us SMILE. I was in a shop and automatically SMILED at the checkout operative and then said “I am SMILING sorry you can't see it” and the wonderful reply was “I can see your eyes SMILING”.
A SMILE comes from within, from your heart, and lights up your whole face, reaching beyond your mouth alone. And when you SMILE from your heart you reach into the heart of the person receiving it – even if they don't SMILE back, inside their heart is SMILING.
So wherever you are, wearing a mask or not ,just SMILE giving yourself and those around you a loving gift.