Do something for me. The next time you’re out and about, look around to see who is smiling. I’ve been looking around, and you know what I’ve seen? Damn near no one is smiling! Sure, sometimes if I see people chatting in a group, there are smiles, but NO ONE is smiling if they are alone.
Why is this? Is it because it takes more muscular effort to smile than to frown? Or are people just not happy enough to walk around smiling?
It may be silly, but I’ve taken it upon myself to smile when I’m out. Not a huge Jack Nicholson rapey-psychopath smile, just a small self-satisfied one. And maybe even a big one if I see or hear something nifty.
I’ve only been doing it a week, but I can tell a difference in myself. One difference I’ve noticed is just a general lighter mood when I’m out. Smiling reminds me to be happy, since I have a lot to be happy about. Constantly smiling is a constant reminder that my life has a lot of positive things going for it.
The other difference I’ve noticed? I’m less paranoid about shady guys coming up to me and hitting on me. A smile is like an invitation, and most of the time, it’s the seedier guys that see it that way.
Fun story: While doing this little experiment, a guy asked me if I wanted to go back to his hotel with him! This guy was gross and sketchy. This is a perfect example of why I haven’t really smiled when I’m out. But then, right after that, a different guy passing by told me very kindly that he liked my hair. He didn’t make a big deal out of it, just said it as he was passing by. I thanked him, but I didn’t mean it. I was still in a funk from being propositioned less than two minutes beforehand. I’m one of those people who means it when I say thank you. Those two words are powerful to me. I immediately realized that by letting the creeper get to me, I’d diminished the joy I could have felt by receiving the gentleman’s compliment. And I diminished the joy I could have given the polite guy if I’d smiled and genuinely thanked him. I felt bad. For myself, and for saying ‘thank you’ unauthentically. So I let go of the grumpiness that the lewd proposition had raised up in me and I got back to smiling. And in my head, I genuinely thanked the man for his kindness. And for his courage to say something nice to a stranger. It really touches me when people compliment others, for no reason other than to compliment them. Being complimented by a stranger can lift your spirits so much!
That little scenario made me realize that that’s about the worst that can happen to me from smiling when I’m out. And you know what? It’s not that big of a deal! Grody guys will be grody. Nice guys will be nice. Nice girls will be nice. (Funny, I’ve never had a girl be a creeper to me…)
Anywho, I just thought I’d share my little personal project. Smiling has really helped lift my spirits even higher!
Have a beautiful, wonderful day. I’m smiling at you!