In a world full of negativity, you would not believe what a positive difference a smile can have on someone or a situation. When I first moved to Maryland from Florida, I was so used to the “Southern Hospitality” that I brought it with me. I smiled at everyone and said “Hi! How are you?” only to be given weird looks and the occasional grunts of what I think may have been Hello or %$@# off. We’ll stick with Hello. I am so amazed at the difference in the cultures in every city I’ve lived and every country I’ve lived or visited. At first, I was so taken aback by how rude some people are (not just in Maryland, everywhere) and I started to become like them. Not talking to people when passing, not waving ‘thank you’ when another driver lets me in front of them, or not even making eye contact. I became a rude person in public and inside my smiles died a little bit. It wasn’t until my oldest daughter (2 at the time) said hi to someone and was met with silence. She was crushed because she was ignored. I had to sit with her, hug her, and let her know that not everyone is going to be nice and speak, but you should never change who you are because of that. It made me realize that I was actually speaking to myself.
Not everyone will be as polite as you are. Not everyone will make eye contact when speaking to you, but what I have realized is that if you keep smiling then it may become infectious and whatever issue that person was dealing with may just fade away even for a moment.
One of my goals is to make a stranger feel good about themselves. We frequent Walmart a lot and recently we’ve had some experiences with a cashier there by the name of Cody. Every time he is at his register I try to get in his line, unless there’s a shorter line because Hey, it’s Walmart……just sayin’. Well on our first encounter with Cody every smile was met with a grunt. My girls said hi, I like your hair (he’s a ginger), what are you doing, you know, toddler questions, his response was nothing. I mean no eye contact, no smile, just grunts, and a mumble which I think was supposed to be, “have a good day.” My youngest even said “Mom, he’s not talking to me.” All I could say is, “baby not everyone is going to speak back to you” (loud enough for him and everyone else behind us to hear). Her response was “It’s ok. Have a good day!” Mind you, she’s two and she said it with a smile. Yep! We make it a point to go to his line and every time (about 4 times to date) he has the same response. The last time, I just said “I hope you have an amazing day.”
So, this past Friday I had to go to Walmart sans my princesses. I didn’t even see who was working the registers I just wanted to get out of there and the shortest line happened to be Cody’s. I reluctantly went to his line. I made a smart comment and said “something must have happened because this is the shortest amount of time I’ve ever waited in a Walmart line.” Oh how the angels sung because he actually smiled. I was so shocked! In awe I exclaimed, “you have a fantastic smile! This is the first time I have ever seen you smile and my girls and I always try to make you smile!” And the angels wept because he blushed!!!! I mean his face matched his ginger hair!!! I wished I had taken a picture!
I’m telling this story only to tell you, my friends, just smile! Smiles are free and they don’t hurt anyone. They may be met with a confused look or you may just receive one back. Even if you’re have a bad/ trying day, just smile and it may make a difference. If that doesn’t convince you, here are a few reasons:
- Smiling is contagious
- Smiling elevates your mood
- It takes fewer muscles to smile than it does to frown
- Smiling can instantly boost endorphins
- Smiling makes you look younger
- A smile is a free gift