Now that I’m officially a blogger, I’m wanted to share with you one of my first and best life lessons. I learned this from my beautiful and passionate mother: Catherine Agnes Jimenez.
As a child, I was not allowed to frown or even “not smile”. I remember a vivid moment of walking with the sun in my eyes and sweat in my long black hair to greet my mom after school. She was waiting patiently in the car to pick me up. As I got in, she said: you need to smile while you are walking toward someone. She didn’t ask how school was or offer me a nice cold drink – she was ready to teach me a lesson.
I thought this was incredibly stupid, I was just casually walking to get in the car after school and I’m expected to put on a show and smile for the world (or in this case, just my mom) to see – who would that benefit? After that incident, my mom would comment on smiling during any occasion – while eating dinner, riding in the car, meeting new people, etc. I became extremely annoyed at the constant pestering, but I had such respect for my mom that I smiled even though I felt like a dork. I would even practice smiling alone in my room so it would feel more natural.
Now, her words haunt me. I cannot walk to my car, greet a stranger, or glance across a room without smiling – not because I’m necessarily happy, but because I feel compelled to smile by a force stronger than me.
However, I have noticed some very tangible and positive results:
1. People (strangers and acquaintances) recognize that I am an upbeat person with a positive attitude.
2. My co-workers comment on how they enjoy my positive attitude.
3. Other people’s attitudes and faces change when they see me smiling at them.
4. Everyone considers me a friendly person even if they haven’t met me.
5. I feel more confident to meet new people.
6. I immediately feel better when someone smiles back at me.
I encourage you to try and smile this week. Take a conscious approach to walking in a hallway, driving in your car, getting on an elevator, walking down the street or sitting in a meeting. You will DEFINITELY feel silly at first, but watch other attitudes and faces change as you greet them with a smile. Consider smiling through an entire conversation.
I smile now even when others aren’t looking – it helps keep my attitude in line and it keeps my hopes up. You don’t need something warm and fuzzy to smile about, it’s okay to smile for no reason at all. However, if you do need inspiration, you can always look at this picture:
Let me know how it goes for you and if you notice any changes in your life as you begin to smile.