There is much that I don’t know but I do know about the power of a smile. My journey for truth and balance in life has taken many twists and turns. Struggles often outnumber achievements over the past few years. Bouts of depression and periods social isolation have taken their toll and the results have bubbled up to the surface of my psyche. My forays down the rabbit hole have led to some strange days and strains on my relationships. Some really tough lessons have been learned, and some really difficult experiences have been my life coach.
Honestly I am still a very flawed individual and at times it is difficult for me to love myself enough to overcome some of my hang ups. The identified problem is that I know that my self worth issues are holding me back from even greater progression as an person and as a soul. My challenge is to find effective ways to mitigate and lessen my tendency to be self destructive.
That is not to say that I am not actively working on my personal development, because I am. Between individual therapy sessions, group classes in behavioral therapy, weekly volunteer efforts, a renewed exercise regimen and a recently acquired part time job with a not for profit organization, I have been making progress in overcoming some of my bad habits and recurring self destructive tendencies.
Sometimes however the simplest therapy is often times the most effective. To over think can be to cloud the truth behind layers of unnecessary complexity. One of the greatest and quickest ways that I am able to uplift not only myself and also those around me to greet the world with a smile.
You would be amazed at how well this works if you don’t do this already. All that you need to do is to make eye contact with people and once you have that connection all you need to do is to smile. A nice wave and “hi there” or “hello” is great as well although it is not necessary if your smile comes from your heart.
You see, to smile is not enough in my opinion. If you want to make your smile impacting you need to feel love for the person that you are smiling at. Even if they are a complete stranger you can feel love for them. This is the same love that you can feel for a beautiful sunset, or for a warm evening breeze, or for the wafting smell of barbeque. The love I am talking about is just a simple love of what is. A love of the fact that we exist. The love of the wonder and beauty of the universe.
One of the greatest things about this simple exercise is the immediate feedback you receive. The reaction that refracts back to you from the individual that you greet with your love is instant and usually revealing and gratifying. Often times I get the distinct impression that I have made the day of that person by letting them realize that they are not alone in the world. They are part of a community of people and that they are loved and noticed. They are valued for existing.
The “Smile Game”
This is powerful medicine for both parties. For me, this feedback uplifts my spirit and soul. It puts me in a great frame of mind and encourages me to continue to engage and interact with people on a spiritual level. The great thing about this exercise (I prefer to call it “the smile game”) is how you can play it at any time. For example my favorite time to play the smile game is when I am out for a run in my neighborhood.
As I am running I invariably run into folks such as the garbage collectors, or the postman, or the UPS driver that has his route in my area. These folks get a smile and a wave from me and now they smile and wave back as well. They know me and I know them now. Random strangers walking children in strollers, or the elderly man out for a walk that I always seem to see on a certain street have become less than complete strangers because we have connected and are now aware of each other.
My sense of community and my sense of the rhythms of the neighborhood have increased. My connection with those around me has grown and my sense of isolation has diminished. Spiritually the smile game creates an immediate mood enhancement since it is hard to be unhappy if you feel love for your fellow man.
The flip side to this is that when you are feeling down the tendency is to keep your head down and maintain the isolation. Some days I just don’t feel much like playing the smile game. Those are the EXACT days that I get the most benefit from forcing myself to play. If you can flip the switch and make yourself get past your own sadness and realize how great it feels to just love a stranger unconditionally and give them a smile from your heart then your own mood will lift as well and you are well on your way to turning your day around for the better.
In conclusion, please understand that I have not conquered my demons and am not some enlightened man. My flaws are still very much a part of who I am. That does not mean that I don’t have insights and that there is not a pure expression of love inside of me (as there is in everybody). The more that you can tap into that love the happier that you can become and the greater this vibration can spread to others in your world.
Try playing the smile game the next time you are feeling a bit down and watch the magic happen for you and for those around you. It is the power of a smile!
As a postscript I wanted to mention that as of last week I had gained over 50 followers to this blog. While some of you big accounts probably get that many followers per week, this is a big deal to me and I am proud of the achievement. More importantly, I am heartened by the support and appreciate all of those who read my words, like my posts and who take the time to comment and interact with me.
A hearty THANK YOU to all of you fine folks and know that I am smiling at each and every one of you.