For a moment I was dumbfounded by a mixture of “Yay! I did it!”, surprise that somebody noticed, and relief that it was somebody I love, precisely the people I smile for.
It started a few years ago as my mirror gradually revealed what we all dread: the signs of aging. I tsked in regret over the roadmap of wrinkles etched on my face.
Then I realized that they almost disappeared when I smiled. Of course, I resolved to smile more.
As you all know from years of failed New Year’s resolutions, resolving and doing are two very different countries.
I decided to smile whenever I saw my reflection in a mirror, window, or screen.
I set up my iPad near my computer. I could see my reflection in it and I would smile as I conducted my telephone interviews. They say people can hear you smile on the phone. I believe that to be true. My clients and I seemed to have better conversations when I smiled.
I video record as many of my speeches and presentations as I can. Then I watch them to improve my presence. I pay attention to my smiling. I am often taken aback to discover I smile far less often than I think I do.
When I am with people, I remind myself to smile. It’s easy for me to present my serious/concerned face, which I’ve been told can be a bit scary. After all, that IS when the wrinkles are more prominent!
Through all that smiling I accidently discovered that when I smile I can hear better! (That revelation came to me while using my phone earphones.) The position of my ear canal must adjust slightly, opening to allow in more sound. This is another reason to smile when I’m with people: it helps me listen better, which is a gift I can give them.
So when my little sweetie asked me if I always smile, I celebrated that my efforts are paying off, with a smile.
That means I am more beautiful, ergo more approachable and that feels good.
In fact, that makes me smile.
“Smile, what’s the use of crying? You’ll find that life is still worthwhile If you just smile”. From song, Smile composed by Charlie Chaplin et al