Let me start off this post by saying that I’m not a person that smiles a lot. It’s not because I’m always sad, or always angry, it because of something I believe is called “resting bitch face”. Often I don’t even realise I’m doing it. My mom likes to point it out sometimes, for instance when we’re on our way to meet up with people. She’ll say something like: “look happy Eline, take that angry look off your face”. I used to get annoyed when she said it, but I realise now she might have a point (life lesson: mother is always [sometimes] right).
The past few months I’ve realised that smiling actually really does make a difference. People return your smile, are more inclined to be nice and help you out, and you feel happy in return. I have Thailand to thank for this realisation. The country is known as “The Land of Smiles”, and that’s no exaggeration. A smile here is like a greeting, a token of friendliness. I soon realised that smiling back was appreciated. I learnt to smile whenever I went up to someone to ask a question, to buy a drink or even just smile at a passerby. I can honestly say that it’s made my life a little bit happier. Who doesn’t like to be greeted with a smile?
It’s not that I was sad before. Like I said; I wasn’t not smiling intentionally, “my face was just like that” (I feel like that sounds like a lousy excuse). I realise now that you’re less likely to get a smile in return for a sullen face, so by me not smiling my way through life, I was missing out on the smiles and kindness of strangers. Yes, it sounds super cheesy, but it’s true; honestly.
So next time you sit next to a stranger on the bus, order your food or ask someone for directions, just smile. Maybe that person is having a tough day and values a kind face, or maybe you’ll just make them feel a bit happier. It takes no effort, just a positive mindset. If you’re not a very smiley person, just like I wasn’t in the past, I challenge you to make the conscious effort to smile more for a week and see if you feel any different at the end. I’m willing to bet you will!