What is it about a smile that can take you from the darkest place in your mind, into the warm sunshine of warmth, safety and acceptance among friends? What is it about a smile that makes you look twice at a face that you would otherwise have just walked past? What is it in a smile that makes us want to spend time finding out about what it is that brought this amazing expression of happiness to the face your looking at in the first place?
Passion, energy, affection and comfort come from the sharing of a smile. Have you ever stopped to consider that no matter how you may perceive the appearance of someone based on your first impressions, the moment that person smiles at you, it’s very difficult not to smile back and be polite? Ever noticed that no matter how bad the news, if it’s delivered with a smile its next to impossible to feel hostility towards the messenger of this bad news? Have you ever tried in the midst of an argument to smile genuinely at someone? If you haven’t done so, then I recommend that you try it sometime, you’ll be amazed at the results.
So what is it about a smile that is so powerfully able to disarm us, emotionally affect us, and change our mood in the blink of an eye? As often as I have pondered this phenomenon I am yet to discover what it is about such a simple action that has such a powerful reaction and response within the human race. I sure as hell know that if ever I could discover this secret power, I’d bottle and sell it.
From our early days as a babe in arms, we learn to associate a smile with happiness. We learn that a smile indicates acceptance and approval from those around us. It does not take us long to understand that a smile from those around us indicates that they are happy with us and approve of our actions. A frown on the other hand is quickly associated with disapproval and negativity.
Is it this early imprint on our sub consciousness that makes the smile such an important part of our ability to communicate? A smile is a universal expression recognised across cultural divide, language barriers, race or even religious differences. It’s truly amazing to consider that words cannot communicate as effectively or simply the same feeling, or expression of contentment.
However simple the mechanism of making a smile or the universal acceptance of understanding a smile, a smile is quite a complex thing. From a friendly smile to a more romantic smile, there are many different smiles and different ways the act of smiling can be done. Smiles can communicate feelings as different as love or contempt, pride or submission, flirtatiousness or polite tolerance. The act of smiling may often be induced by showing kindness. To give someone something to smile about, we might take someone’s mind off their problems by conversing with them, giving them some attention, or even telling them a joke.
We must also consider that a smile is not just an expression of the mouth, but more sold by a complete mix of expressions across the face and body. A grimace, something similar to a smile is an expression of fear within an individual where the person seeing the grimace is able to tell that the smile like state of the persons face is not an expression of happiness. We often hear the words, “their eyes were smiling”, and it is incorporation of the full features of a person’s facial features and body language that allows us to see the inner self confidence of a smile.
Personally I think that this last point brings out a fundamental importance about smiling. Someone’s self confidence is the key to how often, where and when a person will smile. People relax enough to feel comfortable and safe enough to enjoy the happiness of a moment and express their contentment through the self confidence of their acceptance within their environment.
Have you ever noticed that within a family, smiles are frequently shared and passed around? I believe that this is a clear indication of the power of a smile in breeding an environment where we feel confident enough to be ourselves. This ability to relax brings out the best in us, and it is in these moments that the true expression and power of a smile are most poignant.
Ultimately a smile is our seal of approval. A genuine, frank exchange of acceptance, welcome and happiness shared between one person and those that he or she feels comfortable around. A genuine smile is appreciative, and warm. It’s all about happiness and our ability to share and express that happiness. We often hear people say that it’s easier to smile than to frown, or that we use fewer muscles to smile than to frown. Personally I think there is a far more important reason to smile more. Our own health and wellbeing is based in the roots of our happiness. Happiness is expressed through our smile, and therefore, it’s more important to smile than to frown for the simple reason that our mental health depends on it. Now that is a pretty good reason to relax and smile a little more often don’t you think?