Several years ago, I would find myself, on countless occasions, in the grocery store or mall, feeling like a grouch and not wanting to talk with anyone at all. I’d tell myself, “it’s too big of a hassle to ‘be nice’ and friendly”, or I didn’t have the TIME or energy. FIDDLESTICKS! After years of this unfulfilling practice, I decided this wasn’t a true reflection of who I really am. I consider myself a loving human being, and I genuinely care about people. This old behavior was a poor reflection of me, AND it didn’t make me feel good. So, I created a new practice when roaming with strangers, clerks and salespeople on my shopping excursions and errands.
SMILING and being warm, friendly and open. That’s it. Simple, and extremely fulfilling. Even the grouchiest of clerks can’t help but feel happier after a momentary flash of pearly whites aimed at their heart. I continue to be amazed at how responsive and warm, strangers are to a genuine smile. And, what was once an “effort”, is now natural and happens automatically (well, MOST of the time).
SOULFUL CHALLENGE: Smile at Strangers for a week. For the many extroverts reading this, you probably already do this. I commend you,. and, there is always another level. Go for it! For those of you who can relate to the original “shut-down, grouchy state” I talked about, GIVE IT A TRY. What have you got to lose? Smiles are free.