Smile (it might make someone's day)…

selfie-465563_1920A couple of years ago, at a work’s conference, I was lucky enough to hear from a guest speaker who told the story of how he had been contemplating suicide and how a complete stranger, seeing he was in trouble, had taken the time to stop and talk to him, to find out what was going on and help him get help.
It was an amazingly powerful story but one thing in particular stuck with me.  It was when he said that, as he went out on what he thought would be his last day, he had made himself a deal – if one person smiled at him, just one, he wouldn’t kill himself.  For people who are feeling sad or lonely, he said, one smile can make all the difference.
I took this to heart and, ever since, have been grinning like a crazy woman.   It’s not like I think I am going around saving lives, but I am hoping that, just with a little effort, I can spread a little love, joy, and friendship, and that, if someone is feeling down, I can help lift their mood and make their day a little better.
During all this smiling, what I have noticed though, is how few people actually smile back, which I find sad.  I am not sure if they are shocked by a random stranger beaming at that and so don’t know how to respond, don’t even notice that random stranger because they are caught up in their own thoughts, or just really don’t want to smile back period but whatever the reason, I wish they would.
Interestingly, I have noticed that when the sun is shining I get more smiles than when it’s not and that the school run, which I do twice a day – walking 10 minutes to school and 10 minutes back – is especially smile free.  I have been doing this run for three years now and cannot get over how few people smile as we pass each other or stand at the school gates.  The kids, I notice, smile pretty much all the time, grinning ear to ear when they see someone they know.
That is how we should all be, I think, big grinning machines, smiling when we pass strangers and meet people we know.  I know when I am on the receiving end of a smile, it makes all the difference, especially if there is a “hi”, “hello”, or “good morning” attached to it.  It lifts my spirits and my steps get lighter.  My smile is even broader for the next person I meet and I feel part of the human race in a way I don’t when my head is down and I’m barrelling ahead.
Smiling is brilliant – not just for making you happy.  It can make you more successful, live longer, feel better.  Don’t believe me – hopefully this Ted talk can explain better than I can…

So, this is my plea, when you are out today – going about whatever you are doing – raise your head and raise a smile.  If the person you smile at doesn’t smile back, don’t give up.  Because, one day, one smile, could make a person’s day.
What do you think? Am I making any sense?  Or are you already part of the smiling army?
Emma x
The Lovin' Life Linky
50 Shades of Age | Seize the Day Project | And Anyways | Write of the Middle | Deep Fried Fruit.
Images courtesy of pixabay.

12 thoughts on “Smile (it might make someone's day)…

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  1. We live in a little village, and I often smile and say hello to those whilst passing and it is often well received, but then when I head further afield to the nearest city let’s say and it is definitely received differently there!
    I agree with lots of your sentiments here… 🙂

  2. Aaah yes, smiling – it really does make all the difference. I do a morning walk on the beach near where we live, and it’s a smile fest. The only ones who don’t smile back are the runners – I think that’s saying something…lol. #TeamLovinLife

  3. Oh I love this Emma and it’s so true! A smile can make a difference to someone’s day. Interestingly when I used to walk regularly (in the city) I’d notice early morning walkers used to small and say hello but late afternoon walkers rarely did.
    It’s like making an effort to be nice to someone at the checkout at the supermarket… it’s harder for the other person NOT to be pleasant back if you’re upbeat. I know I used to catch a train (to work) in the city and there was a conductor that I’d come across irregularly (someone who presumably was in the engine room, or perhaps even an office somewhere) and as we stopped at each stop and HUNDREDS got off the train she’d add a comment about having a nice day. She mixed it up at each stop and it was hard not to smile at her enthusiasm coming over the loud speaker. It was a lovely way to start the day. #teamlovinlife

    1. I wonder if the afternoon walker were just too tired to smile? I have felt like that and imagine in cities everyone just wants to get home. You are right about checkouts and the like. I always try and be polite to people working in shops and generally helping me and it does change how they behave back.

  4. Love it Emma! I’ve written about this subject too. An elderly man, who I see sometimes when I’m on my morning walk, stopped me to tell me how I make his day when he sees me because I always smile and say good morning! It’s incredibly simple to flash a quick smile … and we need to do more of it. I’ve found people in the country and regional areas reciprocate the smile more often than those in the city. Perhaps city people are more cautious? 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

    1. The elderly are probably one of the most vulnerable groups when it comes to feeling lonely. It’s wonderful though that you were told the affect your smile had – shows it works!

  5. I used to walk around with my head down all the time. Not to be rude — I was just in my own thoughts. One day it occurred to me to look up, & I was amazed to find so many people looking back, searching for a smile. I try to meet eyes and smile now. It’s very nice how many return them. x

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