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The power of a smile

A smile is a light in the window of a face which shows that the heart is at home. The ripples of a smile is contagious and powerful. It offers greater dividends than a frown. The expressions that we wear on our faces are as important as the way that we dress. Our smiles can be measured in miles. One writer believes that the word smile is the longest word in the English language, because within its structure is the measurement of a mile. Our smiles can be like the sun that breaks through the dark clouds of human experiences. A smile can convey the message that life is not filled with hopelessness. A captivating smile can win us alarming success and favors. A smile has a language that says, I’m happy to see you, I wish for you a beautiful life, and I am filled with happiness.

The language of our faces differ and are indicative of the intrinsic feelings that we display about those that we meet or relate to on a regular or incidental basis. Expressions that are seen on the faces of people on long waiting lines for services, a doctor’s office visit, a traffic accident, national celebrations, worship, report card day, a wedding ceremony, a funeral and other occasions, tell their stories of happiness or annoyance without verbal language.

There is no doubt that most people dislike mechanical and insincere smiles. They know the difference between a warm, friendly, kind and cheerful smiles and those that are just pretense and hypocrisy. Many managers prefer employees that wear a cordial smile but have limited skills, than a university graduate with cold and unfriendly expressions. A grim manager came to the consciousness that his facial expressions were threatening to his family and coworkers. One morning he decided to wipe off his angry looks and plastic smiles, and replace them with accommodating and cheerful expressions. He looked in the mirror and challenged himself to maintain his resolution. When he went to the breakfast table, he greeted his wife and children with such a sunshine smile that it shocked them. They became very skeptical of his intentions, because it was so unusual. He assured them that he was not up to any tricks, but it was a real and sincere change.

That same day, he smiled with all of his coworkers and support staff. They gossiped about the radical change that they witnessed in their manager. They confessed that they felt so much better for his warm-hearted expressions. Within a month his family members showered him with gifts of appreciation for the joy that he brought in the home and the acceptance that they felt. It was then that he realized how much of a grouch he was and the power that a smile has. When he was asked to address the staff on work ethics, he spent several days in practicing how to improve his smiles by talking in the mirror. He self-talked positive thoughts and challenged himself to make genuine smiles regular occurrences. Very soon, everyone at the office smiled with him and they were never disappointed, for he gave them in return smiles that said,”I appreciate you.”At the year-end banquet, the staff honored him for having the best radiant, captivating and appealing smiles. He in turn, thanked them for the increase that was evident in the year’s productivity.

According to observations, and research, people who succeed are those who know the art of making a good first impression, make their jobs delightful and are the dispensers of genuine smiles. Acquaintances can be developed into friendship through smiles and hellos. We should give less thought about people that are perceived to be our enemies, and situations that demand more of our patience. Our mind-gauge should be in place, in order for us to have a positive mental attitude that will encourage reflexive smiles. We will eventually become what our mind is fixed on. The principle of imitating others fits quite easily into our philosophy of a mile. Since it is a normal thing to copy others, we must make sure that our facial cues are pleasant. We cannot afford to withhold a smile that can be transforming in breaking down prejudices, spontaneous mental perceptions, loneliness and discrimination. We must be committed to let the miles in our smiles help to make a difference.

An old proverb states:”A man without a smile should not open a shop. A smile is the measure of your good will and it brightens the lives of all those who see it.”A teacher once asked his students,”How can you tell the precise moment when the night ends and the day begins?”A student after being puzzled, replied that it is when he can identify a dog from a sheep clearly, from a distance. Another student replied that it is when he can see the difference in a tree and a grapevine from a distance. The teacher shook his head to both responses.”Tell us. We give up,”the children said. The teacher said the answer is,”It is when we have enough light to look at human beings in the face and recognize them as our brothers and sisters”. Until then, darkness is still with us. It is evident that we have the light, when we can look in everyone’s face with a smile that says, this is my brother, this is my fiend.

A smile costs nothing, but it creates lasting friendships. It is shared in seconds, but its effect can last forever. Nobody is so wealthy, or so important that he can do without a smile, or so poor that it does not make him richer.

We must keep in mind that smiles should not be forced, solicited or mandated. It is not of any value to persons who are stingy enough to keep their smiles from others. Share your smiles. You will not be made poor because you gave them all away.

Pansy Hamilton-Brown can be reached at P.O. Box N-10152, Nassau, Bahamas, or

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