The Power of a Smile

Kristen - Traverse City, Michigan
Entered on June 3, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

There are many powerful things in this world. Nuclear weapons have the ability to destroy entire continents. Doctors have the ability to create life forms from a Petri dish. Teachers have the ability to mold the lives of their students. These things are powerful, and only a select few people have the authority to use them. Like me, most people are not major world leaders, doctors, or teachers; however, we all have something in common that is very powerful in its own right. We all have the ability to smile.

A smile may be one of the most underestimated powers a human being possesses. An anonymous inspirational quote states, “A smile can brighten the darkest day.” This quote sums up one of the greatest powers a person contains in only seven words. I believe a smile’s power is both tangible and intangible at the same time. The tangible half of a smile is unique to each individual person. Whether you prefer not to show teeth, proudly display a slight gap in front, or dimples on your cheeks, each smile is unique. The intangible half of a smile is the universal message that it brings forth. A smile crosses all language barriers and it communicates warmth, caring, and compassion. Though each smile may mean something different, one thing is for sure, the connotation it conveys is positive. A smile can shed light upon even the darkest, most discouraging days.

Several weeks ago, a friend of mine stormed past me down the hall sporting a look that read anger, frustration, and “I just might kill someone before the day is over.” When I caught up with her, I jumped ahead, attempting to block the path and simply said in a voice at a level of equal annoyance to hers, “SMILE.” After several repeated tries and a couple death glares later, she did indeed smile. That smile turned into a small chuckle, which gave way to a full-size laugh. I was approached days later by the same friend who thanked me for forcing her to smile because it “truly made her day better.” If it only takes a small grin to improve one person’s day, then why don’t people do it more often?

A smile is a powerful thing, but who’s to say you have to have a reason in order to use it?

I believe smiling is one of the few instruments of power left in this world that one should use often and without forethought. There is simply nothing to lose and everything to gain, whether you are beaming with pride over an accomplishment or allowing a smirk to escape over an amusing thought. So the next time someone asks why you are smiling off into the distance for no obvious reason, you could create a hasty excuse, or you could simply explain that you are exercising your greatest power. When all else fails, and there is nothing left to do, as Ronald McDonald would say, “Put a smile on.” This, I believe.