By Henrylito D. Tacio
While reading some posts on my social media, I came across a quotation posted by the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation.
“Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love,” said Mother Teresa, who was given the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1962 for devoting her life “serving India’s poor and dying through simple acts of kindness.”
On another occasion, the 1979 Nobel Peace laureate also said, “Peace begins with a smile.”
So many famous people have said about smiling. “Nothing you wear is more important than your smile,” Connie Stevens pointed out. “I love those who can smile in trouble,” said Leonardo da Vinci, who painted the famous Mona Lisa.
“Smile at strangers and you just might change a life,” suggested Steve Maraboli. “Learn to smile at every situation,” advised Joe Brown. “See it as an opportunity to prove your strength and ability.”
There is indeed something to smile about. Tessa Dare, author of A Lady of Persuasion, penned: “Oh, no. Don’t smile. You’ll kill me. I stop breathing when you smile.”
So, why frown when you can smile? In Quote Me Everyday, Santosh Kalwar wrote: “I was smiling yesterday, I am smiling today and I will smile tomorrow. Simply because life is too short to cry for anything.”
Roy T. Bennett, author of The Light in the Heart, has the same view. “A smile puts you on the right track,” he said. “A smile makes the world a beautiful place. When you lose your smile, you lose your way in the chaos of life.”
Smile to everyone. Smile specifically to your loved ones. “I like it when my mother smiles,” Adriana Trigiani, the woman behind Viola in Reel Life. “And I especially like it when I make her smile.”
Award-winning author Maya Angelou said that if you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love. “Don’t be surly at home,” she pointed out, “then go out in the street and start grinning ‘Good morning’ at total strangers.”
Never underestimate the power of a smile.
At one time, I was mad as hell when someone took the book I bought. I left it on top of my table before I left for work. When I returned home, it was gone. I really don’t have any problem with it if the person who took it just left a note that he was borrowing it. At least, with a note, I can always ask the person if he is already done with the book.
But what really got on my nerves this time was the fact that I had some scribbled notes on the said book which I inserted. I was afraid that whoever took the book might just throw away the notes I had written.
I was about to give up when my niece came to my room. “I am very much sorry, uncle,” she said. I was surprised; what had she done to me, I asked myself. She took something from her bag and, with a big smile, “Here’s your book which I took without your knowledge. I forgot to leave a note.”
It didn’t matter if the book was lost. What mattered most was the fact that here was my niece, and with a broad smile eased all those worries.
“A smile is central to our evolution and one of the most powerful tools of human behavior,” explains Dr. Cacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, who has studied the importance of facial expression – including the variety and impact of smiles.
In 1872, Charles Darwin proposed in his book, The Expression of Emotion in Man and Animals that facial expressions are biologically based and universal among human beings. However, the celebrated anthropologist Margaret Mead thought the smile was a cultural behavior that varied between societies.
There are several reasons why people smile. One indicator is that he or she is in love. American balladeer Barry Manilow, referring to his beloved, croons, “I can’t smile without you.”
“A smile costs nothing but gives much,” someone once wrote. “It enriches those who receive without making poorer those who give. It takes but a moment, but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever. None is so rich or mighty that he cannot get along without it and none is so poor that he cannot be made rich by it. Yet a smile cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is of no value to anyone until it is given away. Some people are too tired to give you a smile. Give them one of yours, as none needs a smile so much as he who has no more to give.”
“Smile and others will smile back,” Jean Baudrillard thinks. “Smile to show how transparent, how candid you are. Smile if you have nothing to say. Most of all, do not hide the fact you have nothing to say nor your total indifference to others. Let this emptiness, this profound indifference shine out spontaneously in your smile.”
But more often than not, people stop smiling. It seems they are carrying the whole problem of the world. Even in the early morning, when they should face the new day with gladness, they are already frowning. There are several reasons, but those reasons are not enough not to smile.
A smile, according to Charles Gordy, “is an inexpensive way to change your looks.” George Eliot surmises, “Wear a smile and have friends; wear a scowl and have wrinkles. American humorist Mark Twain also stated: “Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.” Just a reminder: It takes seventeen muscles to smile and forty-three to frown.
“…and he smiled a lot. The smile did not mean that he was happy. It meant he was stronger than most people, and that he intended to take advantage of it.” That’s what Michael Cadnum wrote in Flash.
No wonder a photographer always tells their subject: Smile!