Do you like to smile? Chances are, you get that there is more to a smile than lips and teeth. Smiling is a way of communicating what is happening deep inside of you. Recently, I had an experience that reminded me how important smiling is, and how easy it is to get into unsmiling habits.
I call her the doughnut Nazi.
Yea, that’s harsh.
She works at a Tim Hortons restaurant in Calgary, Alberta. She’s not difficult to miss. She is in her mid 50’s and she looks like she’s been eating lemons for about 50 years.
She looked mad before I even opened my mouth. Then she got our doughnut order wrong. I thought it was a simple fix, just exchange the white sprinkly-thing dipped doughnut for the maple doughnut-like my son wanted. But somehow, her perma-frown managed to frown a little more.
Then she gave us the wrong maple doughnut. At this point, my 16-year-old son wanted to just cut our losses: Take the doughnut and get outta the store. But for me, this one was personal.
So I persisted and asked for the right doughnut. Then she proceeded to argue that it was our fault. At this point, I was mad and I imagined myself throwing a maple doughnut right at her un-smiley face.
She finally gave us the right doughnut, and yes, she wasn’t happy about it.
My parents frequent this Tim Horton’s quite often, and my mother tells me that the Doughnut Nazi never smiles.
Your love life and the power of a smile
Customer service is a challenging job choice and smiling every day, even when you don’t feel like it can feel like a pain.
But your love life, it’s different… right? Well, not really.
Your love life is not much different than customer service: Ideally, you should listen intently, smile, resolve a problem to the best of your ability and strive to improve the relationship that you have with the other person.
How much does it cost to smile? When the woman at the other end of the cash register smiles at me, I feel better about my purchase, about the store and about myself. In the same way, smiling at the woman or the man in your life will convey your sense of happiness, satisfaction, and confidence in yourself and the other person.
Six ways that smiling will improve your love life and your professional life
Smiling may take energy and focus, but it will pay you back in more ways than you imagine. In fact, smiling will do six things for you and your love life:
1. Smiling creates connection. A smile begins inside. I am not a naturally smiley-happy person and some days I struggle to be positive. I have to work at smiling and yes, some days I fake it. When you smile at another person it is an invitation. You respect them enough to look them in the eye and that might just make the difference for them and for you.
2. Smiling creates something new. When you smile, you communicate to your partner that they are important to you. We are in a technologically driven, isolated culture. Whether or not you see technology as a good thing, there seems to be less engagement, less eye contact with each other these days. If you don’t look your partner in the eye, how can you expect to improve your intimacy? I promise you, your iPhone won’t help you improve your relationship. But looking your partner in the eye and smiling might just let them see something in you. When you see another person, you become more receptive. Often, smiling is the first step.
3. Smiling allows you to be seen. Whether it’s real or faked, a smile allows you to be seen for just a moment. When you smile, your eyes express a little of your inner light. There is something powerful when you genuinely smile at your partner. It is a moment of vulnerability in a culture of self-protection.
4. Smiling for no reason communicates much more than expensive gifts. Culture says that it is okay to smile then you spend money when you drink alcohol when you are on an expensive trip or on a Friday afternoon. But smiling to your partner on a Tuesday morning? What’s that about? Smiling for no reason is an open door. You drop your guard and invite your partner to join you. Your partner may be having a stressful week and smiling with nothing on your mind except her best interests can be exactly what she needs.
5. Smiling is like a body-language contract. When you smile, your partner’s mirror neurons create an impulse to smile back in return. Adrian Furnham in a Psychology Today article on the psychology of smiling calls this a virtuous cycle. When you smile, you create an atmosphere of hope in your relationship. Smiling reinforces a belief that better things can happen. A smile literally is an invitation to your partner and other people in your life.
6. Smiling builds confidence. A genuine smile comes from a sense of confidence. Don’t lie, no one feels confident every day. But when you smile genuinely, you are broadcasting confidence. Get real, you might not be any richer, you may not have better career opportunities and your kids may argue about the same old stuff. But when you look at your spouse or a potential partner and smile you communicate that you have somewhere to go. Smiling will also have benefits to your career, according to Lily T. Garcia, DDS, past president of the American College of Prosthodontists,
“A smile conveys confidence and professionalism.”
Smiling more often will benefit every part of your life
- It will benefit your health – Smiling releases cortisol, a stress hormone while releasing more serotonin and pain-reducing endorphins.
- It will improve your perception at work – Smiling is like taking a breath, a break that allows your brain to perceive a situation from another vantage point. Smiling can help you to feel more positive and respond better to challenging situations.
- It will enhance your social and romantic life – Smiling sends signals that you are enjoying yourself and the other person.
So today, I invite you to make a smile declaration. You won’t always feel like smiling, but your smile will create better emotions, improve your health and change your love life. Consciously smiling more often will open a door of opportunity in your relationship and even your professional life.