The SMILE Challenge Results – Part 1

6 Feb

SMILES-More_Oasis Advanced Wellness

The responses I received to my smiles during the past month were actually not as I expected them to be…especially my own response, but I’ll save my personal reflections for Part 2. I had just assumed my smiles would result in many more smiles and perhaps a word or two. We would all feel better and the world would be a better place. No wonder I’ve been called a Pollyanna.

(Actually, I’m proud of being called a Pollyanna. It may be intended as a statement to bring someone back to “reality,” but I consider it a great compliment. Why wouldn’t I want to see the good in every person and situation?)

I had not anticipated the number of averted looks or even quizzical looks I received. It definitely wasn’t the majority, but it always caught me by surprise when it happened. And try smiling at a mom with her kids in a grocery store…just before dinner time. You’re definitely competing for her attention. And all of that is okay with me. Maybe the next time a stranger smiles at one of them, it will feel more natural…and they’ll smile back.

The most responsive ones were the youngest and oldest people I encountered. Do you think that is because they are the least hurried during their day? Or because they aren’t usually the ones staring intently at cell phones or iPads? I’m wondering.

The younger ones actually made me smile bigger, every time! They live in the moment and know how to play. They’re great at engaging you in their current game as soon as you smile in their direction. Ahhh, to be a kid again, and to remember how to play just for fun.

The faces of the older ones often lit up with a big smile in return. Many times, there was a look of delight or pleasant surprise on their faces. Sometimes they even greeted me or exchanged a few words. I wonder whether their open response comes from being raised during a different time when people interacted more in person. Or is because they generally have less attention paid to them in their later years and appreciate the extra kindness and attention? Hmmm. When was the last time you really looked at an older man or woman…and just smiled?

My favorite experience was with the garbage collectors. Whenever I caught their eye and gave them a smile and a wave, it was ALWAYS returned. From my smile, I hoped to convey how very much I appreciate the work they do. Can you imagine otherwise? Oh dear!

Let’s keep smiling…

(Photo credit: Less Stress by Oasis Advanced Wellness…with my addition of “MORE SMILES”)

7 Responses to “The SMILE Challenge Results – Part 1”

  1. teresasdreams February 7, 2013 at 10:47 am #

    Very interesting, and it seems to fit what I’ve observed on occasion. I’m often busy or want to mind my own business, so would probably give you a quizzical look. I admit it! lol But I also admit young children and the elderly can get me to crack a smile. They are so uninhibited and bring it out of others. 🙂

  2. Healthy A-Z February 7, 2013 at 12:23 pm #

    So, I have the perfect idea! Let’s just not grow up!! 🙂

  3. walkwiththerabbi February 9, 2013 at 9:20 pm #

    Cyndi: I am so very grateful for you introducing this. I have become extremely conscious as to whether I’m genuinely smiling in situations I would never have prior. The results are more internal than ex, specifically the “rush” of joy experienced as the smile emerges. I have no control how others will receive my expression, but I have complete control over my choice to “dish it out” liberally. Thanks again. Hugs till next time (delivered with a smile)!

    • Healthy A-Z February 10, 2013 at 7:27 am #

      Your internal experience is similar to mine. Stay tuned for Part 2. Hug (received with a smile and) joyfully returned…

  4. Mary February 13, 2013 at 8:55 am #

    How interesting Cyndi – you’re right about the little kids, they get it. Then as they get into teen years and young adulthood – they couldn’t be bothered, their interests lie elsewhere. Middle age, oh please what’s there to smile about – cynicism creeps in with the pressures of life, too much too worry about. And then as you said, the older one gets the more people welcome a good smile – what the heck someone is nice today.

    All curiously interesting. Great post!

    • Healthy A-Z February 13, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

      Thank you! There’s always more to observe and learn. This has been an interesting project for me.

  5. Summer February 13, 2013 at 6:19 pm #

    Hallo,
    This is for you, for being kind to others and me : )
    Pick it up here if you want to http://summer4soul.wordpress.com/2013/02/14/valentines-day-this-is-for-you-because-you-are-love/

    Sweet greetings, Summer

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