It’s such a simple thing; a smile requires so little effort and creates such an impact. We have to choose to do it yet often we choose a response that results in confrontation or just dis-engagement.
I remember when I was in my wheelchair and people would stare at me. It made me feel uncomfortable and different. It made me feel isolated. It reminded me they saw me as dis-abled. When I was out with Hannah, I always got a different response. Hannah, from the age of four, would watch people looking at me and choose to smile at them. A huge grin that said “hello!” which always got the same result – a smile in return. Suddenly, they were engaged, I was not the focus now. They were entranced by the smile of a child who was walking next to her mum. Her smile and attitude changed their perception of me.
I was reminded of this last week as I took a train to Milton Keynes. Full of drained and weary looking commuters, squashed together and most uncomfortable at the close proximity of others. I looked up at the man who had his feet on mine and smiled. He smiled back and then engaged in conversation. Twenty minutes into the journey we were sitting opposite each other and discussing our mutual love of fast cars. A great outcome and a wonderful journey. My feet are fine by the way – blood now returning! 😉
Next time someone looks at you, don’t assume the worst, choose to give them a smile. It can have wonderful results.
Have a terrific Tuesday