I’m a people watcher. When I’ve had moments of waiting on someone, at the mall, at a restaurant, at Disney World or Disneyland, I catch myself watching those that pass by. Some I observe longer than others, depending on the duration of their time within my proximity. I watch their interactions with those in their group; I take note of their fashion, possibly gaining a tip or two; but above all, I am always impressed by their facial expression, whether positively or negatively.
Do people realize what a statement they make by the expression they wear? I’m not a fashion guru. I am always seeking advice and tips on what goes well together and what is current. I never want to get stuck in a rut of an era. Because of this endless quest, it’s obvious to me how much effort people put into their look. Some say that their “look” is one way they express themselves. I have to say that I truly believe that. So what are we expressing when choose to walk out our door with such unhappy faces?
Sometimes I think that maybe people believe they look smart, or pretty, or maybe they believe others take them more seriously if they don’t smile. Maybe they’re trying to be intimidating, or they believe it expresses confidence. Many times, I think it may be just the opposite. Maybe some people are perhaps very shy and don’t want to be noticed. Whatever the reason, is it possible that our facial expression can be powerful enough to impact others? Those we don’t even know? I definitely believe so.
We tend to minimize the value we can give to another. We just don’t realize the influence that we can make. We can’t, and sometimes don’t even try to, imagine what others, complete strangers, may be going through. That person in line with you at Starbucks, the teller at the bank, the person you pass in the grocery store. We just don’t consider what encouragement a friendly face may do for those individuals.
Recently, as I was walking into work to get my assignment for the night, I passed by a parent. I smiled at her and simply said, “Hello.” She said, “You are the friendliest nurse in this place.” The fact is there are countless “friendly” nurses in our unit. But my interaction may have been timed to be the smile she needed at the exact time she needed it. Proverbs 17:22 tells us what a change our attitude can make, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” No doubt, she was in need of some “good medicine.”
I love it when people smile at me. This is probably why I am so intentional to smile at others. Matthew 7:12 tells us, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Invest those smiles today. Give that simple act of love and encouragement. It will be returned to you just when you’ll need it most. Even more often, you’ll be blessed by initiating such kindness.
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