The Power of Smiling
As a blogger, smiling a lot is something I do. Everyone seems to expect it when you are doing fashion styling although fashion styling is only a small part of my lifestyle blog. Look at any clothing catalog or fashion blog and most models look really happy to be wearing what they're wearing and are having all manner of fun while they're at it. I have found, though, that smiling on cue is not so easy. If I don't feel like I look good or I'm not in a good mood or having one of "those" days, the smiles just don't come so easily.
I've been doing some reading lately in a book about mindfulness and one part of the book was about how we, as children, learn to relate to other human beings and get our needs cared for. The author of the book told this story of a women who was travelling by train and boarded the coach in a horrible mood. She had experienced a really rough day and just wanted to get home. But, seated next to her was a husband and wife and their baby. The baby managed to get the woman's eye contact and smiled at her. The woman really didn't want to be bothered and glanced away at other areas of the coach and then back at the couple and found the baby was still maintaining eye contact and smiling at her. It was so compelling that the lady smiled back at the baby and then the young couple joined in with the smiling and the woman suddenly realized that she felt much better. She wasn't feeling as stressed as she previously had been. The baby then began smiling at other people on the coach and the whole mood of the area lightened. All because of the sweet smile of a precious baby! This baby was learning how to interact with other human beings and had already discovered that when she smiled at others there was a reaction and her needs could be met. Sometimes, it was just a smile back. But other times, she received a basic need. Especially, when her smiling interacted with her doting parents! But, the needs of the disgruntled woman were also met that day and she found that her need to be in a better mood was met because of a child's smile.
Smiles can have power. I remember years ago being called to jury duty. I had been called several times previously but had not needed to go. This time, my number was called and I had to make my way to the courthouse. As luck would have it, the day started out with snow and I was not in a very good mood as I drove downtown. The schools were called off for the day and yet I still had to go out and drive which I never wanted to do in snow! I found a parking spot and entered the building and made my way to where the jurors convened only to find that the lady who was supposed to check us in wasn't there yet because...you guessed it....she couldn't get in due to the snow! Finally, after about an hour of waiting, the woman arrived and checked those of us in who had arrived in a timely manner and we settled into the waiting room to wait as she checked in others who were just getting there. I had brought a book to read and was half reading and half looking around when I saw a woman entering the room of similar age to mine who seemed as uncertain about being there as I felt and she was looking for a place to sit. I observed her for a few seconds and when our eyes locked I smiled at her. She smiled back, looked around a little more and then made her way over to where she sat down next to me. We greeted one another and made a little small talk about the weather. I somehow mentioned that I was a teacher and regretted having to come out on such a day as this and she shared that she was a recently retired teacher. What ensued was a long conversation about teaching as we waited and went through the day together being comrades in the jury waiting room. We even ended up having lunch together and talked some more and one thing she mentioned was that my smiling at her let her know that I was a friendly person to be around and she was glad we had met up that day. Neither of us was chosen for the jury and I couldn't even tell you her name now. But, I remember the experience of having a bad day turned into a good one just because I chose to smile at someone. You might say that, just like that little baby, both of our needs for the day were met. Yes, smiles have power.
In a recent post, I shared about how music and books can touch our lives. Music and books also make me smile. How can you not smile when you hear a melody that is so beautiful it brings happy tears to your eyes or makes you want to dance? Or, when you laugh out loud at something you read that is so funny or that is something that you can relate to so much you can't help but smile? Last night I was reading in bed (something else that makes me smile) and had chosen a book of short stories by Rosamunde Pilcher called The Blue Bedroom. I find that I return to this book time and time again because it contains stories that are light in nature and make me feel good and relaxed which is just what I want at bedtime. As I read, I suddenly realized that I was smiling because the characters were so poignant and their experiences things that I could identify with and I felt happy.
And then there are other things which make me smile like blogging. And even more so if I have a cat assistant curled up next to me. I find that I lose myself when I am creating on the computer with a new blog post. Finding the right words, searching for the correct phrasing, editing pictures, thinking about just the right word choice, it all spells happiness for me and can bring a smile. Yeah, I get frustrated on occasion, but mostly not. As you can see, Garden has been assisting me here of late. But, Cassie also likes to chime in from time to time with a furry opinion.
How can you not smile when you see this sweet furry face with her head on her paws and sleepy eyes?! Yeah, I know, you can't!! My fur babies make me smile every day.
Tell me....what makes you smile? Hope you will share in comments!
Until Next Time,