The Power of A Smile

Activated - - NEWS - By Cur­tis Peter van Gorder

Smiles are pow­er­ful. You’ve prob­a­bly met a few gifted peo­ple, like I have, who ra­di­ate warmth and friend­li­ness all the time. They smile so much that just be­ing around them charges your spir­i­tual bat­tery. Ba­bies are ex­perts in this as well. With­out say­ing a word, they lighten your day with their smiles.

These days, many com­pa­nies train their em­ploy­ees to smile at cus­tomers, even when they’re talk­ing to them on the phone. Of course, the pro­fes­sional smile can at times seem in­sin­cere. As a mat­ter of fact, ex­ten­sive re­search has been done on the na­ture of smil­ing to de­ter­mine which smiles ap­pear gen­uine. These find­ings are use­ful in se­lect­ing ju­ries or de­ter­min­ing the hon­esty of some­one that needs to be trusted.

That said, even though we know that these pro­fes­sional smiles are some­times in­sin­cere, we still miss them when they’re not there, as any­one knows who has felt the neg­a­tive ef­fects of a scowl from a grum­bling cashier.

I re­cently read an ar­ti­cle about a man named Hans Ber­gen who lived in the tiny town of Ida, Hol­land, whose face was dis­fig­ured. He lived a lonely life, re­jected so­cially by ev­ery­one in his com­mu­nity and spurned by his own rel­a­tives.

Ev­ery­one he met seemed to ig­nore or mock him, ex­cept for one young girl named Anna Martin, who gave him a kind smile, the one and only time she met him. When this man died, he left a con­sid­er­able amount of money to her in his will in ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the kind­ness that she showed him. “She was the only one who smiled at me,” he wrote.

A friend of mine ex­pe­ri­enced a sim­i­lar story. Helga was vol­un­teer­ing in Thai­land when she met an el­derly farmer rest­ing on the beach on his va­ca­tion. She gave him a friendly smile and struck up a con­ver­sa­tion. Over the course of the next 20 years, they con­tin­ued to write each other once a month or so, but they never met again. Then one day, Helga re­ceived a let­ter from this man’s lawyer, say­ing that he had left her a large in­her­i­tance in grat­i­tude for the kind­ness and con­cern that she’d shown him in her com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

Never un­der­es­ti­mate the value of a smile. It costs noth­ing, and we all have an in­fi­nite stock to give away.

Cur­tis Peter van Gorder is a scriptwriter and mime artist1 in Ger­many.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from International

© PressReader. All rights reserved.