This I believe…
I believe in the power of a smile. I feel like these days it gets harder and harder to find the elusive treasures, and yet the scarcity is almost offset by their potency. In our world today its hard to make it to a second sip of coffee before the news reminds us that millions of people are being relocated to refugee camps, hundreds of soldiers are dying from roadside bombs, and people in our own country are eating trash on the streets, memories of corner offices and plush sedans still fresh in their mind. It seems like there is hardly anything to smile about these days. Sometimes I feel like people are looking at it the wrong way though. So many people search fruitlessly for something to turn the corners of their mouths up, but with a cloud of cynicism over their heads, never get anywhere. What if we smiled first?
What if someone has a terrible day at work, and instead of going into a bar hoping (but not believing) something will make them smile, they simply smiled at their bar tender? Speaking as someone who waits tables for a living, I can tell you that people forget we have bad days too. Sometimes I will be at work, struggling to keep my head on straight, and not run screaming out of the building, leaving obnoxious children and unbelievably rude patrons far behind. But if just one person sits at my table and smiles, I mean a real, carefree smile, and asks me how my night is going… well, its going great now sir, thank you ma’am, I’d love to get your kid that fifth root beer folks.
There is something underappreciated about a smile. People know they affect us, professors and psychologists try to tell us, and even though we say we understand, sometimes we forget just how powerful a smile can be.
Have you ever been in a grocery store, waiting in line, while a new mother unloads the GDP of most small countries on to the belt, while her child stares back at you from the seat? Have you ever seen that child lock eyes with you, and smile? Such a smile should be worth more than diamonds. This is the smile of a child too young to know heartbreak, too innocent to have been tarnished with our wars and recessions. If you look at this smile, and your heart is not warmed, then you are lost.
I believe in the power of a smile. Next time you are looking for one, try giving one first… my guess is you will believe too.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.