As I walked my dog Roxy this morning, I couldn’t help noticing how very few people smiled at us or said hello. One by one they’d pass us without acknowledging our existence.
Doubting whether I’d paid enough attention, I decided to carry out a small experiment and let the evidence speak for itself.
As I set out on our afternoon walk, I kept a mental tally of how many responded to my smile with a smile of their own.
The results are as follows: Out of the fifteen people we encountered, only three smiled back. This makes me wonder what prevents people from being friendly even when they don’t seem to be in threatening or intimidating circumstances.
Has the world turned into such a menacing place that we can’t bring ourselves to be receptive to another’s grin?
When exactly did we stop exhibiting joy and courtesy in favor of indifference and apathy?
Ironically, I’m certain it takes the same if not more effort to frown than to smile. As for the facial muscles we exercise, again, I think it’s an equal amount. And that’s not to mention the hideous lines on our forehead that frowning produces.
As I sadly approached my doorstep, I thought about the sour souls who had looked past me, away from me, and even fidgeted with their watch to avoid any type of eye contact.
Didn’t these folks know how at times a simple smile can make a difference in someone’s day? How someone suffering from low self-esteem is practically guaranteed a boost of self-confidence when a stranger acknowledges their presence? How another’s good mood is often times contagious?
And so amigos, in the effort to create awareness regarding the importance of battling apathy, I encourage you to smile. Smile at the hot guy standing behind you in line and notice how your step acquires pep instantly. Smile at the not so hot guy and make his day. Smile at the elderly gent in the elevator and remind him someone cares. Smile at the waiter, the mail carrier or the guy stocking shelves at the supermarket.
Smile because it’s uplifting. Smile because if feels good. Smile. Just because.
Who was the last person you smiled at and smiled back?