We might not know it but a smile is the greatest asset we have. When we smile, it not only lights up our faces and spread good feeling, we also give permission for someone shy to smile too, to approach us, to feel good in their actions and to feel worthy. A smile does not just show our teeth or suggest how we feel. It is silently empowering and can make someone’s day, big time! We affirm them and show we value them.
I was walking along the London underground in a hurry, late one night, and a busker was playing his music. I looked at him and smiled in an appreciative way while I deliberately walked on briskly. Encouraged by that, he smiled at me and offered to serenade me.
“I like to serenade beautiful women”, he said chirpily.
I anxiously looked at my watch. I was in a hurry and in no mood to be serenaded. But I suddenly remembered that we are guaranteed no other time than that moment. We have to make the most of it. I stopped. What the heck, I thought. It was not an emergency. Let’s just enjoy life.
And so, for a couple of minutes, while everyone passed by in their rush, I allowed myself to be serenaded and I felt special. But so did he, because he seemed very happy when he finished. Someone actually paid him some attention and affirmed his talents. He thanked me politely and profusely, as I continued on my journey. I don’t think he cared about the 2 I dropped in his box. I would hazard a guess that, with everyone passing him all day, as though he were invisible, my smile and acknowledgement of his presence, to him, were priceless.
Without realising it, what I really did was to reinforce that human being in a positive way. Even though I felt a little embarrassed at people walking by and looking at us in some amusement, it didn’t seem to matter, somehow. I reminded myself that leaders tend to stand out from the crowd! In that brief moment, I had fulfilled his two most urgent desires: to be accepted and not to be rejected.
Denying a smile or attention to someone increases his/her fear of being rejected, gives a negative message and does not add to our joy. Yet smiling is so easy to do and so priceless in its effects.
How is your smile today? Will you be withholding it or will you be giving it freely? You could affect someone much more than you think by your decision!