“Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
Is there anything more beautiful than a person smiling, or better yet, laughing? I don’t think so. It’s almost contagious.
You’ve likely seen the YouTube videos of babies laughing and couldn’t help but smile.
And there’s probably a special person in your life that only needs to smile and you feel your heart lift. Maybe it doesn’t even need to be someone you know. I’ve had this happen to me with a complete stranger.
When you see someone smiling from ear to ear, filled with joy, you can’t help but smile too. Am I right?
I live in a walk-able city, so I walk a lot. Sometimes I catch myself trying not to smile or laugh as I walk down the street remembering something funny. But then I’m reminded of this quote.
Why would I ever want to stifle my happiness and joy? Why would I ever want to hide my happiness?
One Sunday afternoon I was rollerblading along the beach path, feeling the sunshine on my face, listening to my favorite Spotify playlist, feeling good and smiling for these reasons, when a guy on a bike coming at me from the opposite direction reached out and high-fived me.
Seriously, how fun is that?
When my boyfriend calls me on my cell phone, I have it programmed so this silly, grinning picture of him pops up on my screen. It makes me smile every time I see it (which also makes it really tough to stay mad at him on the rare occasion that I am, because who can stay mad when they are smiling?).
Smiles breed more smiles.
Life is just better when you approach it with a smile. Plus, you really don’t know how much you can brighten someone else’s day with something so simple.
We tend to be so serious all of the time. We chart our course based on our to-do lists and we spend so much time worrying about the past or the future.
When really, all any of us want is to feel like we matter. So, what if it’s not really about measuring up to any arbitrary yardstick?
What if the secret to feeling like we matter is as simple as looking for reasons to smile no matter what?
Your smile has the power to transform someone’s day, light up the room, change the vibe, and open you up to opportunities, love, connection, and the present moment.
Your smile can redirect your entire day toward possibility, fun, adventure, and being carefree.
I think smiling is the key to letting go and embracing how beautiful we (and life) are right now.
Here are three steps to embrace your beauty and smile more every single day.
1. Begin and end with you.
Most people open their eyes in the morning, roll out of bed, and just start banging away at all the stuff that needs to get done until they eventually climb back into bed exhausted, close their eyes, and then get up the next day to do it all over again.
Let’s not do this.
It sounds hokey, but what if you started your day with a smile… at yourself? Yes. Look at yourself in the mirror—into your own eyes—and smile.
Your smile has superpowers. So why not give that gift to yourself first thing when you start your day and right before you go to bed? It’s like setting an intention, only with action instead of words.
For the next week, give it a try. Look into the mirror, into your own eyes, and smile. Feel the love and the worthiness wash over you.
You are good enough. You are smart, beautiful, radiant, stunning, and your smile is a gift to anyone that gets the opportunity to witness it.
2. Beauty has nothing to do with perfection.
Especially here in the U.S., we have this very skewed perception of what beauty looks like. Thank goodness that is changing and we are beginning to understand that not one person on this planet is perfect. In fact, our flaws and imperfections are what make us special. They are endearing.
I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m imperfect. My nose is crooked, I have stretch marks, and I will spare you the rest of the boring details that you will probably say, “whoop-di-do” about because to you, they don’t seem like that big of a deal.
Let me tell you, for a long time, they were a big deal to me. My point is this: we all think our problems and imperfections are so noticeable or huge, when in reality, they really aren’t to anyone else but ourselves.
We are our own worst critics. People love you—all of you—including your imperfections.
3. Embrace what is while being eager for more.
That being said, it’s okay to want what you want. You want to lose twenty pounds, cut your hair, improve your wardrobe, make more money, buy a bigger house, or find the love of your life?
Go for it!!
It’s human nature to have desires, to want to expand and experience more.
But here’s the catch: do it from a place of inspiration and excitement, not from a place of fear or lack.
Life is not suddenly going to be puppy dogs and sunshine when you “get there.”
Look for every opportunity to smile and fall in love with life right now, while you are on your way to any goal that you have set for yourself, and I promise, life will be so much more fun and rewarding. Chasing after something in order to fill a void never pans out.
Being happy with what is, looking for things to appreciate, seeing the silver lining right here and now, smiling and laughing every day as much as you can, and being eager for more at the same time is the name of the “true happiness and fulfillment” game.
There are not many situations in life where a smile wouldn’t make things better. So look for reasons to smile.
Let your light shine. Smile at your loved ones, coworkers, friends, neighbors, and strangers on the street. Smiling breeds smiling, which brings more joy, and who doesn’t want more of that?
Give it a try and see how much lighter and happier you feel. Your smile is a beautiful gift. Share it.
Which of these steps are you most excited to practice first?
Smiling woman image via Shutterstock