The Power of a Smile

I’m a big fan of learning from people who are wiser, with more lifetime-learning, and who draw from different experiences. Two teachers who I often read about are Thich Naht Hanh and Mother Teresa. And, as you would expect, both have something to say about a topic I really appreciate: smiling.

Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can the source of your joy. – Thich Nhat Hanh

All three of our major values are touched on with this thought on smiling. If one is truly grateful, that is, appreciating that which is in one’s life at that moment, a smile naturally occurs. It’s easy when you are being pulled around the lake with your buddies or sitting at Campfire to smile. You’ve got A LOT of good things going on right then and there.

But what about when things aren’t so rosy, like you’ve had a tough day at school or your little brother inadvertently (I assume!) destroyed something you’ve been working on. Deciding to smile on those occasions takes intentionally modulating your attitude and practicing courage.

The more your smile, the more you’ll notice the joy in your life. The more joy you recognize, the more your smile. It’s a wonderful cycle….

Mother Teresa had a lot to say about smiles:

 – Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.

 – Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.

 – Peace begins with a smile.

There is a lot to unpack that should one want to but I think Mother Teresa’s words are more than enough.

There is a lot of talk focused towards future generations (you youngins’) that rotates around changing the world. Here’s the problem with that goal… it’s too big. The world is enormous and complex and impossible to truly know.

That’s not to say you cannot have an effect. Whether you know it or not, recognize it or not, value it or not, you do have an effect. When you smile at someone – with both your mouth and your eyes – you affect them. In fact, might even make them smile in reaction. (This happens a lot of times.)

That smile that you’ve given your neighbor may be the start of something pretty awesome for them. As Mother Teresa said, “We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.”

So, while one smile won’t change the whole world, it can change the course of a person’s day. Do that enough and it will make the world around you better. We spread that message, well… then we’ll have something.

Smile and have a great week.

PS – A quick thing you might not know: when you smile, it changes how your voice leaves your mouth and people can hear the difference. Want to make your parents, grandparents or friends feel good when they call you? Smile while you answer the phone. It makes a difference – I promise!