An important lesson occurred to me when I didn’t get a smile back from a stranger. I’m currently in the middle of training myself to smile to everyone, everyone, regardless of their background (age, gender, race, appearance, etc). I found that one of the things we fear as human, is the fear of the absence of reciprocation. Why don’t we smile more often to other people? We are afraid that the smile won’t be returned and we might be regarded as a “weird” person. Why don’t we love more? We are afraid of not being loved back.
So, I smile a little more often to strangers everywhere I go. Some smile back, some don’t and with every unreciprocated smile, I truth reveals itself. It is okay. It is absolutely fine to smile and not get a smile back. There shouldn’t be disappointment, there shouldn’t be embarrassment. There shouldn’t be any negative feelings associated with rejection, because sometimes, that’s how it is, we feel rejected when our “niceness” is not being acknowledged or responded.
If we feel any of the negative emotions associated with rejection, we are being nice for all the wrong reasons. Being nice should just be about being nice. Being kind should just be about being kind. When you’re being nice or kind just for the sake of being nice or kind, you won’t feel anything when your kindness is being ignored. It should feel nothing.
Smile a little more. You’ll never know what your smile does to a stranger. People you pass by in the underground station, people you walk by on the road, people you accidentally make eye contact with. They might be having a wonderful day in which case, your smile might add to their happiness. They might also be having a difficult time in their life, in which case, your smile might brighten their day a little bit.
If there’s an important lesson I’ve learned from my little smiling project, it’s this: it’s none of your business how others treat you. It’s none of your business how others behave. Others behavior and attitude shouldn’t concern you. Your business is how you treat others. Your business is how you behave. These are the things within your power. Don’t mind others. Mind yourself.
Do nice things. Be kind. But when you do, don’t think about the outcome. Just do it because you want to do it. Color the world with your goodness.
Image source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-woman-holding-a-green-paper-736842/