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Smiling more

Posted by Meg Bear on July 2, 2009


2895535441_705de327da_mI am coming up on the one year anniversary of a personal goal to smile more.  This specific goal came from some coaching I received that suggested I should.

Well, to be more clear, I got this feedback years ago from my husband, but of course, I ignored it, as often happens, with personal feedback from family members. 

To be fair, his suggestion was don’t frown so much, which somehow sounded critical where the coach said, you have a great smile, you should smile more which somehow sounded enlightening.  Note to self — coaching works better with positive spin.

In general, I’m a pretty happy person, so it was a bit of a shock to hear that I do so much frowning.  The truth is, I’m in my head a lot and when I do that my facial expression is a bit dour.  The other bi-product of being in my head, is that I walk around a lot not noticing people around me.   

For the last year, I have focused on two primary things — looking people in the eye and smiling at them. 

Today, I noticed that people regularly smile at me unprompted.  It really was a great feeling to know that people naturally expected I would smile at them and occasionally beat me to it.  

I decided to congratulate myself on this publicly, to give others a chance to consider if they might be perceived better by trying to smile more.

One interesting benefit, is that when you make a conscious decision to smile, you often tip the scales from a normal day to a happy one, and since happiness is contagious there is a follow on effect that benefits everyone.  So you see I really wasn’t taking this goal on for me, I was doing it for you

Now how is that for positive spin?

8 Responses to “Smiling more”

  1. Ariel Ceballos said

    I couldn’t agree more! The most wonderful thing about smiling is that you get to feel instantaneously happier. Even on a gloomy day. Try now.

  2. I wouldn’t say dour. . . more like contemplative.

  3. Meg –
    I can really relate to your post. I got the same caring advice from a coworker years ago. I was amazed at what a difference it made – I had no idea! To this day it still doesn’t come naturally, but I make the effort. That, and a firm handshake. It sounds corny, but it really is contagious and helps improve relationships.

  4. Vivian Wong said

    Congratulations on achieving this goal Meg – thanks for smiling more for us!

    I love both the feeling and the effect a smile has on people – it always magically puts me in a happier state whether or not I am the first to smile at someone.

    Clearly you have a better smile than mine.🙂 The coaching advice I received was the opposite – it was suggested that I should smile less (I am yet to figure out what to do about that – frankly it takes more effort for me NOT to smile at people (or our four legged friends) under normal circumstances – kinda like speaking up is effortless for you. May be it’s time for you to teach me how to get a great smile!

  5. Meg Bear said

    @Ariel just so

    @Honeypiehorse you writers have the best ability to express things😉

    @Dan agree about the hand shake advice too — I find a whimpy hand shake very off-putting. Thanks for commenting, it’s nice to know I’m not alone.

    @Vivian I am 100% positive that there was no critique on your *actual* smile as those millions of excellent photos evidence.

  6. Frode H said

    Great!🙂
    “happiness is contagious” – This is something that I teach at work. If you care about the others, all the others will care about you. I am teaching them about the more contagious negativity and how smiling really helps to create a good work atmosphere.

    Good to see that you experience more smiles!

    Keep Smiling.
    Frode H.

  7. Namita Panigrahi said

    It’s so true Meg ! Consiuously or unconsiously, I started excercising this more and experienced something which caught me with surprise.Today morning was one of those days ( first day school ), where I was literally on my toes. Didn’t pay attention to myself while busy getting two boys ready for schools.While I was dropping my little one in school, I was just in good mood and that was certinly showing up in my face.One of the teachers looked at me, I smiled at her and she said “Hi, you looking very nice today.” I thanked her.

    It came as a suprise, as I was certainly not really dressed up.But then I realized, I was wearing the best dress, a nice smile !

    A smile is an inexpensive way to change your looks. — some author

  8. […] nothing else it makes me smile, and since that is another goal I figure I’m […]

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