How often do you smile at others?
I love sharing smiles and waves with strangers. It could be exactly what they needed that day. And many times, it has been what I needed at that moment…
If you’re anything like me, and you truly possess compassion for all people, smiling is one way for you to share that kindness in passing and requires nothing more than a few facial muscles.
I didn’t always feel this way, though. I remember being unsure and unhappy with myself. I was so used to letting the way my day was going determine the way I interacted with others. If I was having a trying day, you’d be lucky if you got eye contact. And when I was having the ‘best day ever’, everyone was a friend to me. I was never proud of this trait of mine and so I just stopped thinking about it and took it as ‘just the way I am’.
Having a stranger smile and wave at me was also very intimidating and unnerving for me. This is a part of me that I’ve never shared with anyone… until now. My head would race with all types of questions. “Why are they smiling at me?” “Did I do something wrong?” “Are they watching me?” It would go on and on. I didn’t receive their kindness very lightly. It also made me feel super uncomfortable.
In my mind, smiling and waving at strangers seemed like such a direct act:
- There are other people around but they targeted me
- The eye contact can be unsettling
- I may not have noticed if they did the same to someone else around me, so that’s even more cause for suspicion
- People don’t smile at me often or at all. Why now?
This all may sound silly but these were real paranoiac thoughts of mine.
I’ll give you a little bit of a back story… I was a very insecure person. And when you’re unsure of what you think of yourself, you become skeptical of others and their thoughts about you too.
How did I overcome that insecurity and skepticism?
I honestly feel like those thoughts and hesitations I felt when strangers were kind to me disappeared when I developed my knowledge of self. I write about knowledge of self a lot because it is directly correlated with a person’s self-confidence and I found that the more confident I became, the surer of myself I was, and I stopped questioning the reason behind those thoughtful gestures from strangers.
I think I also had to remember that everyone is different. I had to keep in mind that not everyone is as shy and self-conscious as I was. And believe it or not, there are actually nice people out there.
Sharing smiles with others is comparable to sharing energy.
After some thought, I realized that I no longer wanted my stress or my confidence to influence the energy I gave to others. I started refocusing my thoughts on the positive areas of my life: What is going right? What am I grateful for? Can my current issues be fixed? Could they be any worse?
I’ve talked about energy before and how it is so easily transferable. Both negative and positive energy. Smiling is another way to consciously spread positive energy to people.
Now that I do it often, it makes me feel great. It has also been said that smiling can be therapeutic and make you happier.
Smiling at strangers is a practice, like everything is in this constant journey we are all on. It’s something we start incorporating into our daily lives, it costs nothing, and can honestly change the way you feel about yourself!
Try it sometime 😊
What are your thoughts? Are you aware of the people smiling at you? And do you often smile back? How often are you the first to smile?