I recently saw a license plate holder with the saying “Be the reason that someone smiles today” on it. It started me thinking about how one could be that reason that would put a smile on someone’s face, even though you might not know that person. Aside from dressing up like a clown and walking around like that, there are other reasons why being around you might bring a smile to the face of others.
The most simple way is to have a smile on your face, too. I’ve posted here a few times about our typical “mien”, which is the look on your face or the way that you act when you are unaware. In particular, few of us are aware that our “at rest mien”, the face that we present to the public when we are not trying to do anything, is most of the time not a very inviting or friendly look. In fact, many people look unhappy, sad or even angry when their face is at rest. Most people do not present a smile to the world when they are unaware that anyone is looking, because smiling requires a conscious effort. So, to walk around with a smile on your face would require that you consciously be trying to smile. That’s not a bad thing, since it would force you to think of reasons to smile and probably put you in a better mood to do some of the other things that can bring a smile to the face of others.
You can perform small, random acts of kindness throughout the day. This might be as simple as opening a door for someone or allowing someone to go ahead of you. Just offering a friendly and warm greeting might make someone else’s day better. There are hundreds of opportunities each day for one to do something that will make someone else’s day better or more pleasant. We often overlook those opportunities or ignore them because we are too self-centered on what we are doing or focused upon our own needs. We have read recently about waitresses in various places receiving large tips from people that they didn’t know. The tippers were just doing that to put a smile to their day by doing something extra to relieve their financial anxiety. We can’t all tip in the thousands of dollars, but maybe leaving a 20-25% tip instead of only 10-15% would bring a smile, too. Even something as inexpensive as taking the time to compliment the waitperson on good service might bring that smile to their face. Certainly, taking the extra time to seek out the manager and letting them know what great service your waitperson rendered will bring a smile to their face later.
There are also many things that you could do which might bring smiles that you will never see (but which you can imagine). Things like volunteering to prepare or pack food for distribution through programs like Meals on Wheel or the school food programs Like Blessing in a Backpack are examples. The “behind-the-scenes” people don’t get to see the smiles on the faces of the recipients , but they know they those smiles occur. We don’t ever get to see the people that our donations to organizations like The Salvation Army go to help, but we all probably have imagined that someone, somewhere is going to smile because we dropped that dollar into the bucket. And, you know what? That brings a smile to our face, too.
So, today, walk around thinking of all of the smiles that you can cause. See if that doesn’t motivate you to do some things that you might not have otherwise done. Then, see if that doesn’t make you smile.
As the song says, “Smile and the whole world smiles with you”. Be the reason that someone smiles today!