I’d like to tell you about the day I challenged myself not to smile for a whole day. Yes not to smile.
I picked a day when I woke up feeling like I wanted to stay in bed – you know that feeling – you’re cozy and warm under the quilt, head nicely drowsy and legs just don’t want to move, and that little voice in your head saying, “Go on, just a few more minutes in bed.” Then it was as if an invisible body with a smiling face was pulling me out of bed saying “Come on, get up, it’s a lovely day outside.”
I get ready for work. I didn’t play any music like I usually do, as I was determined not to hum, start singing or dancing before I left for work – because that would put me in a good mood – and I couldn’t have that because that would make me smile!
As I locked the door to the apartment, the cheerful caretaker, who I greeted daily, was at the other end of the corridor. He waved and said, “Hello Ma’am.”
Oh! How could I not smile? I waved and hoped that my eyes looked like they were smiling – how ridiculous did they feel and probably look!
Now everyone’s setting off for work. What if I see someone I know? I mustn’t smile – come on face – no smiling.
The domestic helpers nodded as I quickly walked through the car park. I get to the security gate where the guards are always ready with a smile. They must have thought I was in a rush as I waved my bag in the air towards them as a greeting and went on my way.
I enter the office building, it was like being in a smiling war zone! Greetings came flying at me left, right and center from all genres of staff and total strangers. Oh no! Please don’t smile! I don’t want to smile! Oh! This is exhausting!
By the time I reached the office, colleagues had their smiles ready, the runner enters the office, big smile on his face,
“Morning Ma’am,” as he collects the post. A second later, in comes the cleaner smiling and so happy looking – I’m cornered, no way out! I seek sanctuary in the computer but even before I can get to the inbox I’m greeted by the latest advertisements on the home screen full of smiling faces. Now the inbox, here surely I’ll find something to make me frown in peace. No such luck – emails with jokes and positive thoughts for the day hit me in the face.
I give up! I give up! A whole day, it’s impossible.
A smile is more than just flexing the muscles near both ends of the mouth and around the eyes. Smiling is another form of communication, of building relationships and is a natural expression, so why fight it.
Love, live life and smile!