Sometimes we get so caught up in the fact that we all speak different languages that we forget that there is a universal one. And, no, I’m not talking about the word ‘no.’ Smiling! A simple smile is the universal language! So often we forget what a smile can actually mean. There’s so many cliché sayings about smiling because it might brighten someone’s day, and as much as we, as a society, poke fun at them, they’re right. The world is a dark and gloomy place, but a bright smile sure can dispel some of that darkness.
There’s this boy I work with. He doesn’t smile all that often. But when he does, man, can that boy light up a room! It’s really powerful. And it really hits me what the power of a smile can do. Smiles, genuine ones, truly are contagious.
I just finished learning about emotions in psychology class, and it actually is true that smiling can make you feel better. Physically moving your facial muscles into smiling position can lift your mood. Crazy, huh? If everybody knew that, I feel like there would be a lot fewer sourpusses in the world. It is also true that happiness is one of the six universal emotions that cross cultures throughout the world. Hence, a smile is the universal language.
Members of my church went down to our sister parish in the Dominican Republic last year, and each person stayed with a host family there. Of the Americans that went, there was a wide variety of Spanish-speaking ability, but the people who didn’t speak Spanish said they could still get along just fine because of body language. Until you are in a situation like that, you really underestimate the power of something as simple as a smile.
I know sometimes we just don’t feel like we have it in us to put on a happy face, but making the effort could just lighten things up enough to start you on the ascent to feeling better. And if you are feeling great, show it! Smiles really do make other people’s days a little bit brighter. It’s simple, but powerful.