We all have the power to create tremendous change. We all have the capacity to generate incredible joy, positivity, gratitude, courage, and a sense of belonging. We do not need to excel or exceed. We do not need to be extraordinary in any way. Shifting the trajectory of our life, and the life of others can be found in the smallest of acts.
When two people, who may know nothing about one another, acknowledge each other with a smile, the trajectory shifts. A smile could be the very thing someone needs that day, in that moment, to change how they see themselves and their place in the world. That person may have woken feeling flat and undeserving of love. They may have spent that week grieving the loss of their dearest friend or pet. They may have just lost their job or received a terrible diagnosis. They may have been thinking that life is hard. They may have been feeling hopeless, lonely, scared, unsure, rattled, and anxious. Your smile, in that moment of passing, may have been the very thing that reminded them not to give up. It may have been the only thing that penetrated their heart, in a moment when their heart felt heaviest. It may have been the thing that spearheaded through all their fear and lit up a spark of courage. Maybe all that they needed, in that moment, was to feel important again. To feel deserving. To feel acknowledged. Maybe all they needed in that moment was your smile.
Your smile could change someone’s entire life for the better. Imagine if we had the ability to track the impact of that moment. What if we had the ability see into the future and witness how our smile contributed to that person’s wellbeing. What if we could see, how that person unfolded and flourished from that day forward. What if we could watch, like a movie, scenes from that person’s life and how they started believing in themselves again. We would see them treating themselves better. We would see them treating their loved ones better. We would see them working hard for their family or community. We would see them following their passion and speaking their truth. We would see them pursue meaningful tasks that bettered their environment. We would see them grow. If we could only see, we would be overjoyed with happiness because we could begin to realise just how much power we have in making a difference. We could glow into a brighter version of ourselves because no matter what was going on in our own lives, we could feel humbled and honoured that our smile was purposeful. That we are purposeful.
Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to smile at a stranger when you yourself are not in a good head space. When we are feeling tired, flat, exhausted, frustrated, angry, rejected, disappointed or hurt, we tend to shut off from the world, self-protect or disengage. In those moments, the very thing our brain and heart need the most is to be open. To feel connected and purposeful again. And we know this is true because we feel it, and the science supports it too. Brain imaging studies show that when we are caught up in a cycle of maladaptive thoughts and emotions, an effective neural circuit breaker to thrust us out of this pattern is to think about or do something kind or thoughtful for someone else.
Gifting someone with a smile is beautiful and impactful. It does not cost us anything and yet it rewards everyone involved. Choosing to smile takes little time, effort, and energy yet it creates powerful neuropsychological changes that generate a sense of happiness, wellbeing, and connectedness. And although we can never really know the long-term impact of our smile on another person’s life trajectory, what if we treated every opportunity for a smile as one that could.
Your smile will never be wasted. You will never run out of smiles to give. Gift the world with yours.
Much love to you,