Monday, February 22, 2010

Smile

"Everytime you smile at someone it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing." Mother Theresa

As a kid I learned to read people...watching their faces...trying to detect what they were feeling....happy, sad....worried, angry. I thought if I knew what they felt...it would help me stay safe...it would help me not get hurt. I became so in tune with other people's feelings...gauging my own with what they felt. A hint of disapproval, upset  or even a scowl....made me afraid...forcing me to do something....anything to make it right for them.   

And their look of disgust - impatience...annoyance...triggered my feelings of worthlessness which quickly turned to anger.....causing me to turn on myself.  I  interpetated what I saw on their face...as 'rejection of me.' 

As an adult....I still tried to read people....basing my self-worth on what I thought I saw written on their faces.  Encountering anyone....even a stranger....who didn't smile....who scowled....who looked annoyed or dismissive....I took as rejection.  Anger kicked in and again I turned on myself... cutting and hurting my body in ways that almost killed me.  

I started noticing when someone smiled....it felt different...it felt safe...I felt accepted. Their smile broke through my self-hate....my shame....my feelings of worthlessness.....In some weird way....their smile made a difference.

I've learned I don't know what anyone is going through....I have no idea what they've lived...or are experiencing...Sometimes just a simple smile can made a world of difference to them.  






 
 


22 comments:

Mumsy said...

I connect with you on this post. I too have to learn to recognize the expressions on people's faces so I can be prepared for what to come..

Kathy M. said...

I can really relate to this post. I usually think of it from the other side, that I don't need everyone to be happy to be comfortable in my own skin. But I appreciate this perspective, too. I will try to smile more today. Thank you.

Paula said...

Only lately I started smiling. An authentic smile, genuine. Before it was rather a grimace. I love this post as you say what I feel now: a smile is the shortest connection between two people. Can you see me smile at you?

Shanel said...

Oh man, that is so true... so true indeed. A smile.. it does a lot... a kind word even better and I'll try to remember that too as I go on through my day.... really great post...HUGS:)

Mary said...

It is amazing how much a smile means. And I am learning that everyone has there own junk and sometimes a particular looks is not directed at me. For me personally, when my self worth was tanked I took so much more personally. Does that make sense?

nancygrayce said...

For a long time now, I've been trying to smile no matter how I'm feeling....especially when I'm in stores and obviously frazzled cashiers are waiting on me. A simple smile and "hope your day is good" seems to do amazing things! I know I love when people smile at me!

Denise said...

Amen, so very true.

Margie said...

Nice post, Sarah!
I love to smile at people!
It adds joy to my day and I know that my smile has added joy to those I smile at!

Smiling at you :)

Surprised By Joy! said...

Sarah,
I used to be controlled by other's emotions, too. Now, I don't worry about what "they" are doing, just try to bless them.

Wow...God has really done a work in both of us.

Blessings,
Tammy

Journal of Healing said...

I have found that i am so good at reading where other people are that I can even match my feelings to there's...what's that called? for me, wearing masks. It is so hard for me to be completely real sometimes because of my fear.

Thanks for writing this. Stay safe, as you always tell me. ang

Wylie @ Shout A Joyful Noise! said...

It's really true that we need not be quick to judge. We never know what kind of pain someone may be in. And, yes, smiling in this world goes a long way! We all need to receive a smile & then spread it around!
Wylie

RCUBEs said...

Facial expressions say so much, don't they? Yup! Sometimes, even just a smile. We don't know what it brings to someone who happens to be hurting inside...God bless.

Journaling Woman said...

Smiles feel differently from frowns for everyone. Smiles with the eyes are even better.

Great post.

Being Me said...

This is interesting.. and true, so smile at someone today.

BM

Deborah Ann said...

I think I had a different sort of reaction to people. Instead of gaging their expressions, I couldn't look at their faces at all. I could answer their questions, but when they walked away, I couldn't remember what they looked like...because I wasn't really looking at them. I couldn't.

And because God has rescued me and brought me into wide open spaces, I know He is doing the same for you. I know it and I believe it. He is doing a beautiful thing in you! He is growing a beautiful garden...

Peggy said...

Blessings Sarah...This ministers greatly to many (I think)!

I <3 (heart) YOU! :)

:) SMILE!

Thanks for sharing how you coped and how a SMILE makes living worthwhile!

:) SMILE!

Smiling makes a difference and is said to take less muscle than a frown. May we turn any frown upside down and show the love of Jesus!

I do have a heart for God, but thanks so much for saying so and making my day special! I <3 Jesus,
Jesus <3 U & so do I! :0)

(((hugs)))
Peggy

Just_because_today said...

so true

Deb said...

I'm smiling.

And, I know it's a little late, but Happy Birthday to your daughter.

Sweet dreams.

Emily Ann Benedict said...

So true! We might be able to tell someone is angry, but we can't always know the source of their emotions. But we always have the chance to change their day.

Thanks for following my contest blog. Just to let you know, my primary blog is: http://www.emilyannbenedict.blogspot.com/
I post there a lot more often. :)

Lily said...

I always make a habit of smiling at people I pass. Call it the "fixer" in me to make everyone else happy with my smile. With people I know, and know well, I don't fake it as much. They get my genuine emotions when it is safe to give them. My pure happiness, my pure anger. It's for me that I'm not hiding that.

Syd said...

This is so very true for me as well. I interpreted everything through the lens of rejection. Now I smile at those who scowl and move forward with a positive frame of mind (most days!). It takes awareness on my part to remember that people are not walking around thinking about me but about their own issues.

Marj aka Thriver said...

What a wonderful message. Thanks for the reminder!