There is nothing more beautiful to me than a sincere smile.
I’ll never forget a story my friend Lynn once told me of the most beautiful woman she’d ever met in her life. Lynn said that when she first met the woman, all she saw was a scarred and weathered old face, but then the woman smiled, and the entire room lit up.
I am a collector of smiles. And, as such, I can be quite judgmental regarding their sincerity.
Take this photo of Donald Trump taken by Alex Brandon for AP.
That’s not a sincere smile. Actually, I register this as more a look of contempt. I don’t think I’ve seen a photo of Trump actually smiling.
How about this photo of Ted Cruz?
I can spot a fake smile in a photo, be it posted on a billboard or a Facebook post. The eyes are more open than they would be. The mouth is purposely open to show teeth. But mostly, it’s the emotional response I have to photos such as these. I don’t feel a sense of warmth. There’s no connection.
Compare those two photos to this one:
Big difference, isn’t there? Even though these children live halfway around the world, this photo invites me to share in their joy. There is communion.
One of the things I miss most about Rumpy and DeDe are their smiles. They were the happiest of dogs and brought a sense of joy to me even when life seemed so hard.
Smiling is one of the easiest things you can do to make your corner of the world a better place. Not only will you feel better, but so will others who experience your smile. So what have you got to lose?
Next time you’re out, smile at strangers and see how many smile back. I’ll bet it happens more than you expect. It’s a moment to share with another person in a world that has become far too lonely.