A few weeks ago, I was having a group of teens I work with write and decorate positive messages to hand out to strangers. My favorite message that one of the male teens came up with was, “A Smile Can Change a Life.”
How right on he was. Of course, I’ve believed in the power of smiling at strangers, loved ones, or just smiling when no one is looking, for quite some time. I’d think to myself that smiling at the construction worker as I drove by or smiling at someone I walk past on the street could elicit a smile back, thus uplifting them and their mood. But I didn’t really think of it in terms of changing their lives…
But when you really think about it, a smile really does have the power to change a life. It could be your smile at that man walking down the street that triggers something in him to make a change in his life. Maybe your smile helped to break down a wall he’d had in his heart, maybe it motivated him to finally get out there and meet some new people, maybe it showed him that other people do care and that there’s no benefit to seeing the world as a hostile, unfriendly place.
I know that when somebody smiles at me, I can’t help but feel uplifted.. especially if it’s from a stranger or unexpected. This feeling can last for several minutes or hours and it seems to always raise the tone of my day.
You may feel sometimes like you have little time, energy, or resources to give back to other people or the world at large, but you always have your smile. It takes no extra time to smile at the person walking towards you, it costs nothing to flash a smile at the bank teller. It may require energy in that you may have to remind yourself to do it and go through with it, but most likely you will be energized by the interaction and feel yourself lifted. In fact, research shows, the more you smile at and do acts of kindness for others, the more energized, happy, and fulfilled you feel. Not a bad payoff!
No matter where you are in life, you can always make positive difference in the world. It can be as grand as building a house for a family in need or as simple as smiling. So flash those pearly whites, (or gums if you have no teeth), and change some lives! You can bet that your life will be changed as well. =-D