GratiTuesday Guest Post: Smiles

Guest post by Laura, Crafting My Retirement

I am grateful to Janis for inviting me to write a guest post for her GratiTuesday blog segment. Janis is an amazing blogger who every Tuesday posts about the things in her life for which she is grateful. From family and friends, to a beautiful day at the beach, to people and organizations who are making a difference in the world, Janis’ blog and accompanying photographs are both beautiful and thought-provoking.

I’m also grateful to my family and friends who have allowed me to use their smiles in the “Smile of the Week” portion of my blog.

The Smile of the Week is an extension of my Smiles are Contagious campaign.

Last August, I attended a graduation party for several of my work friends. Knowing I’d be retiring soon, I brought my camera along to take photos of my friends so I would have memories of those people who mean so much to me.

That evening, as I reviewed the photographs, all I could see was their beautiful smiles. Joy and happiness lit up my computer screen. I realized I was smiling back at them as I scrolled through the pictures.  I went through the photos several times and each time, I couldn’t help but smile back. It dawned on me, smiles are contagious.

Reflecting further on the day, something very special began to emerge. In this small gathering of friends, smiles from nine different countries were represented.  Smiles are not only contagious; smiles break down cultural barriers and bring us closer together. The gift of a smile is universal.

Thus, began the Smiles are Contagious campaign. I wrote about them, started signing off my work emails and my blog posts with the quote; “Smiles are contagious; let’s start an epidemic.” Then, I took it to the streets, smiling at people in the gym, the grocery store and parking lots. I got a few strange looks, but mostly was gifted with a return smile.

Smiles are welcoming

Smiles are heartwarming

Smiles are life-changing

Smiles are beautiful

Smiles are healing

Smiles are a gift for both the giver and the receiver

Smiles are unique.

From the Cheshire Cat to the Mona Lisa and every smile in-between, each is different.  Whether dimpled, shy, toothy, captivating, radiant, playful, or crooked, all smiles are capable of changing the world. I am grateful for yours.

Smiles are contagious; let’s start an epidemic

From Janis:

Thank you, Laura, for sharing your GratiTuesday guest post with us! I love that you started a personal campaign to promote smiles. I think we can all get behind that!

For those of you who haven’t yet discovered Laura’s blog, you are in for a treat. Although she is relatively new to both blogging and retirement, it’s obvious that she has both well in hand.

Please stop by next Tuesday when Lynn from An Encore Voyage shares her gratitude.

Author: RetirementallyChallenged.com

My blog is about travel, relationships, photography, and whatever else pops into my head (even, sometimes, issues surrounding retirement and aging).

64 thoughts on “GratiTuesday Guest Post: Smiles”

  1. How fun to remember friends and family with photos of them smiling. Would that those people who are reluctant to ever smile [we all know a few] have a change of heart and join your contagion. Cool idea.

      1. I think that people didn’t smile because it took so long for the camera to snap a picture that it was better to stand expressionless for all those seconds. Now, of course, it only takes an instant and we have a pic.

    1. Hi Ally
      Funny thing. I have found reluctant smilers often have very engaging and beautiful smiles. Why they hide them is beyond me. A friend of mine and I walk the neighborhood every day. There was once a man who never smiled, never said, “hi”. We called him Grumpy Bump. Over time and after we engaged in an all-out effort to convert him we won him over.
      Thank you for your comments
      Laura

  2. How great to discover a new blogger for our community! Thanks, Janis, for inviting Laura, and thank you Laura for your smiles are contagious campaign. Brilliant idea… and nicely reinforced in the salutations at the end of the posts on your site. Yup, I’ve just been over there to take a look and have subscribed. I’m looking forward to reading more.

    1. Hello Karen
      I’ve checked you out too. I’m now subscribed and intrigued by your latest blog on your Tarot Card reading. Thank you for your comments and encouragement.
      Laura

  3. Hi Laura – Nice to meet you here. Your Smiles are contagious campaign is a great idea. I have ‘smile or laugh daily’ as one of my wellness goals. I’ll visit your site shortly. Thanks, Janis, for inviting Laura.

    1. Hi Judy
      You are so right. Some people give you a sidelong glance and you can see the wheels turning inside their heads. I actually love that reaction. It makes me smile bigger.
      Thank you for your comments
      Laura

    1. Hello Jill
      You’re right. This world could use a lot more smiles. Some days it’s downright difficult. What’s awesome is when someone smiles at me first.
      Thank you
      Laura

  4. The title of this post caught my attention of course as Smiles and the sharing of them is also my mission in life. It is so nice to see that there are other people out there who appreciate and understand the value of something so simple and so free to give. Laura, it is nice to meet you and needless to say I agree with every one of your statements. I’ve used the “Smiles are contagious” line for several years now too and my blog is “Janet’s Smiles.” Janis, thanks for introducing us to another wonderful blogger.

    1. Hello Janet
      A kindred spirit. I too am glad there are others out there who understand how this simple act of kindness can transform the world. Granted, I have my difficult times, but a smile can melt away my troubles.
      Thank you
      Laura

      1. Hi Janis
        It would be wonderful indeed. I am delighted at the response this guest post has gotten. Thank you, Janis, for supporting me and my blog. I truly appreciate it.
        Laura

  5. I very much enjoyed this post! This will help me keep a conscious thought of how powerful and important a smile is. Thank you for heightening my awareness of how a simple smile can make a big difference.

    1. I think sometimes we get lost in our thoughts and forget to pay attention to what our faces are doing. I’ve had people ask me if everything was ok when I was just thinking about something entirely benign. Laura’s post is a great reminder to pay more attention to what our faces are “saying” to others.

      1. So true. Even just a hint of a smile. Like the person you commented on whose mouth is naturally smiling. I love that. Truth be told, I’m a little jealous of those people.

    1. Janis
      It’s been quite an overwhelming experience for me. So many wonderful comments, new friends and people out there smiling their hearts out. Thank you so much.
      Laura

  6. You are so correct that smiles are worldwide and we don’t have to know how to speak another language … a smile is not only contagious, it is something everyone understands. Earlier today, the last of the Thai soccer team boys and their coach were brought out of the cave safely … it is so incredible that the whole world has been caught up in this story, and its now good outcome. The world rejoiced when the last of them were whisked out of the cave … wouldn’t it be wonderful if, as the people in this wide world, we could come together and rally for those less fortunate than ourselves and show compassion all the time?

      1. I agree with you Janis – the world, an entire world, was spellbound once we discovered those kids were alive and we awaited their fate along with their families. Just to sustain that feeling of camaraderie for a longer period of time would be awesome.

    1. Hi Linda

      You said it! If we could rally daily for each other a great change would come over the world. It all starts by lifting each other up ( sometimes literally) with a simple smile, acts of kindness, compassion, empathy and so on. The story of the boys in the cave was a perfect example of this. People coming together for the greater good.

      Thank you,
      Laura

      1. Hi Laura – Yes, if we could only sustain that rally spirit or the friendly vibes we have toward one another around the holidays and make it last, the world would be a better place for sure.

  7. A great reminder how a small thing can have a big impact! I’m sure I’ll be smiling more today.

    Thanks Janis for the intro… heading over to check out Laura’s blog.

  8. Hi Laura – I couldn’t agree more. Smiles break down barriers and make communication so much easier. I had read once that when you feel grumpy or unhappy, the act of forcing yourself to smile can actually make you feel better. I’ve tried it on a number of occasions and it does work!

    I love your Smiles Are Contagious campaign. There needs to be more smiling in the world 🙂

    1. That reminds me of a family story (don’t you love those?) involving my older brother when he was very young. He was all upset about something and, I’m sure, crying and carrying on. My parents did something that made him laugh despite his best efforts. When he couldn’t stop smiling, he whined: “look at what my face is making me do!”

  9. What an excellent campaign and one that we can all get behind. I try to give random compliments to folks and love it when they smile at me in return. Welcome to blogging and to retirement, I think you will love both! Karen

    1. Hi Karen. I need to be much better at giving out compliments. I often think nice things in my head but I too often leave what I’m thinking unsaid. I’m glad you make the effort to let people know that you like or appreciate something about them.

  10. As they say, it takes fewer muscles to smile than to frown. I love “smiles are contagious” because they are! Back in the day when I sang in our church choir, our director pinned a funny thing to his lapel or would smile a big toothy grin as we were ready to begin. We all took ourselves too seriously I guess and/or were nervous, so we tended to glower a little, LOL! I was taught that just lifting your eyebrows makes our whole face brighten!

  11. I love that you are starting a smile epidemic! I’ll do my part, smiling at everyone I see and sharing some of my favorite smiles on social media. Thanks for making me smile today!

  12. Wonderful post, Laura, and one that has every reader smiling as well, I’m sure. Such a great concept to bring into practice and spread around! I love your personal quote, and happily smile (back) at you and everyone that crosses my path (without upsetting me :-)).

    I have noticed the same behavior as you mention in this post, but in regards to saying hi to everyone in the street, the grocery store, or along my path. Some weird looks, but most people return the greeting, albeit a bit surprised at times. Yes, let’s start an epidemic and turn this world around!

    1. It’s a great habit to get into, Liesbet. Despite the occasional odd look, I love to get a smile or a greeting in return. And when people smile at me first, it’s a good reminder to get out of my head and be more mindful of what is around me.

  13. As a person who grew up in a small town, I remember that people smiled at others they passed on the sidewalk, and greeted them or stopped to talk if they knew them. Drivers waved at each other, whether or not they knew each other. If your car broke down or got stuck in the snow, people stopped to help. It was a shock when I moved to the city and observed that strangers didn’t smile but actually pretended that they didn’t see you. I think that the most basic building block of respect for others is acknowledging their existence, and a smile is one way to do that.

    Jude

    1. I’ve always lived in a larger city but I had the same experience going to college. My first two years were spent at a smaller university… everyone smiled and said hi as we passed each other. My last years were spent at a larger school. It took me awhile to get used to the different culture. I preferred the friendlier one for sure.

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