“Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
I know this isn’t a typical topic to write about. Who dedicates a post to writing about smiles, right? Well I do, and mainly because this has been a consistent theme in my life lately.
It first came up a few weeks ago. I was with a friend scoping out a band she’s working with. After the set some of the members came and introduced themselves. As I shook the hand of one he complimented me with “You have a great smile girl!” It was unexpected statement that made me smile even bigger.
Since then I’ve noticed myself receiving a lot of compliments about my smile. One person told me I looked “vibrant” while another commented that my smile was warm and inviting. Even now as I type this post I just received another compliment about my smile. The most common thing said about me is that I’m always smiling, laughing, and joking.
I find the praise both flattering and surprising, mainly because I’ve never thought about my smile. It’s not as though I was ever insecure about it, it was just something I’ve never been conscious of. The recent attention has brought some mindfulness to it though, and sparked some reflection.
It’s amazing what a smile, or lack thereof, will do to a person’s outside demeanor. I know that I’ve personally sparked up a conversation with a smiling person simply because they appeared approachable. On the flip side, I’ve stayed away from those with a serious “mean mug” because they didn’t seem to invite the interaction. Smiles even play a large role in sexual attraction. I love a man with a beautiful smile. It’s one of the first things I always notice.
As a person who tends to look below the surface I feel that a smile is not truly a smile unless it lights up a person’s face. I’ve seen more than enough pictures of people with big smiles and sad eyes. What that usually suggests to me is some type of inner unhappiness. I hate to see those fake smiles. A smile should be felt on the inside as well as the outside.
Even my Buddhist practice promotes smiling. The idea is that a smile is disarming and peaceful. It generates positive energy that is felt on the inside as well as from those around you. I think there’s something to the idea, since we tend to reflect our inner emotions through our facial expressions it only makes sense that the best way to manifest inner happiness is through our surface actions and vice versa. It’s all connected.
So I say all that to say that the power of a smile is deep. It has the potential to put those around you at ease and to draw others to you. This has certainly been the case for me.
A warm genuine smile is a very beautiful thing.