Saturday, March 18, 2006
A smile is truly an amazing thing. It puts a warm feeling all through my body. When passed along to others, it shares with them that warm feeling. And it makes me feel good to see that other people are smiling because I smiled at them. I think people can forget what a simple smile can do to lighten a mood, to brighten a stormy day, to warm up a cold day...
I know that there's some scientific reason why smiling brightens a mood...endorphins being released and such. But it goes beyond science... A smile is almost like its own entity. It travels on its own, beyond your conscious awareness of how your smile is affecting you and others. And it's always amazed me how much smiling at another person can affect him/her. I remember a time in high school when a classmate once told me that her day was always brightened by the smile I gave her when I walked into the classroom. It was toward the end of the year, and she and I were partners for an in-class project, and we were chatting about this and that, and she just slipped that comment into a lull in the conversation. I didn't realize I'd been doing it...I always smiled at people in high school...much more than I do now, actually. I loved walking through the halls with a smile on my face, and when the smile wasn't there, people noticed. This girl enjoyed this part of the day because she always saw my smile and it made her happy, she told me. And you notice that I still remember this, what 10, 11 years later. Smiles are powerful things. They don't take much to accomplish, and yet they do so much for so many people. This girl and I were both deeply affected by a smile I had on my face as I walked into the classroom. I've always thought that was so cool.
A thought just struck me... People go through life pursuing happiness, right? I mean, you hear the phrase "pursuit of happiness" over and over in our culture. We (the generic "we" is what I mean here) have hobbies that we do for enjoyment, we search for a job that makes us feel good, we search for people in our lives (friends, romantic partners, or whomever) that make us happy, we go to movies to laugh (well, the comedic movies, that is), we tell jokes and funny stories for amusement, we perhaps are thrill-seekers--using the risk-factor to give us a rush of happiness in the activity. We all are constantly chasing happiness (and experiencing it, too...it's not a fruitless chase). I wonder if, sub- or unconciously, we're all merely searching for the feeling that comes with a smile. Happiness and smiles go hand-in-hand, right? That's one sure indicator of happiness...a smile on your face. Smiles feel so good...I wonder if we seek happiness for the smile of it...?