Did you know it’s scientifically proven that when you smile at another person their mood improves? And we all love a few kind words. Combine the two, and it’s easy to see how little it takes for us brighten one another’s day.
So what happens if we amplify that sentiment by smiling broadly while validating each other as worthy, beautiful, smart, and/or important?
I know first hand how powerful this can be, in fact; when we launched EWC initially, it seemed like daily, through a beaming smile, our EWC founder, Dr. Lynda, was exclaiming how brilliant and important I was.
It took me a long time to allow her to say these things without my countering with a successive round of “gosh, no I’m not.” Eventually, my response moved to the coy, “aw shucks,” and finally just, “thank you.” I went from feeling awkward and unworthy to, I don’t know, smart and important!
Who in their right mind wouldn’t walk a lot taller after being valued in another’s eyes?
Should we be looking at this issue of validation – in other words, the power of a smile and a compliment – as an important part of healing many of our biggest social problems in the world? We hear a lot about paying it forward these days, but what about “paying a compliment,” and then everyone walks a little taller together!
Today we are pointing you to a couple of remarkable pieces that made us really pause to think about the impact of a simple, warm smile and a compliment.
First up, take a look at this thought-provoking TED Talk about the power of smiling, featuring Ron Gutman. The research here is fun and astounding! See if you don’t come away smiling!
Nice, huh? Our frequent readers know how much we love TED. TED.com is one of the most interesting corners of the web. EWC features the best of their talks a couple of times each month. Check out our list of favorites from TED here!
What’s there to smile about?
That’s a strange question these days, isn’t it?
On one hand, many of us are feeling beaten down by the relentless negativity of the 24-hour news cycle and in our conversations with others, we can all go quickly to the place where everything seems to be going to hell in a handbasket. And on the other, we are still taking joy from the simple things: laughing with a toddler, the smell of our mom’s perfume, sharing a pizza with great friends, spontaneously helping a stranger who obviously needs a hand.
Those things haven’t changed a bit!
And the EWC team is here to tell you: there is just so much good going on in the world. We see it every day, hour after hour, in our research for EWC content. It’s hard not to walk around with a big goofy smile!
What would happen if more and more of us just turned our backs on the relentless negativity in the media? What if, instead, we made a little more effort to notice and savor the small wonders and joys that are all around us? After a short while, we’d probably be smiling a lot!
And the worthiness of our friends, coworkers, relatives, and, most importantly, strangers, might be so obvious that we would validate others from the heart, offering a compliment here and there far more frequently than we might ever imagine. When you are happy, it seems the most natural thing to do.
And a compliment?
What would a world look like where it was common to have someone just walk up to you and compliment your eyes, or let you know what a good fathering instinct you appear to have, or tell you how beautiful your scarf is?
Next up is a very interesting, short piece by filmmaker Kurt Kuenne. When I came across this, I was a little mesmerized; caught between following the story and thinking of how these situations might play out in my own life.
Check out this video to see what I mean, starring TJ Thyne as a lowly ticket validator… or is he?
The EWC curation team was left a little speechless after that folks! It’s so simple and yet transforming!
How would you feel – and be honest – if tomorrow when you get your coffee at your local coffee spot the clerk said: “Wow, your new glasses fit your face so well, you look great!” Wouldn’t something as simple as that start your day in a nice way?
And what if that inspired you to pay it forward, hold the door open for the next person and compliment their jacket, and then that person does so, and so on…
It’s hard to make a case against that. No doubt the world would be a little better place.
Remember the words to that James Taylor song: “whenever I see your smiling face, I have to smile myself…” Seems like James was on to something there!
If you’d like to follow this train of thought a bit more, take a look at our article called Pay it forward Pizza, or just scroll down to the bottom of this page to see a few others I’ve chosen to recommend!
Keep moving forward, no matter how small the steps!
~ Christopher Dugan
[Thank you to Christopher Dugan who was EWC’s first IT specialist and a frequent writer. We are re-publishing some of the articles he wrote as he always had a unique way of both choosing the topics he covered and finding a way to be so authentic that most touched a chord in all of us. Christopher moved on to other projects in March of 2015 and will keep sharing his light with others.]
Want to see more positive news, fun, or insights?
Or scroll down to find a few more incredible articles like this one!
- Gutman, Ron. “The Hidden Power of Smiling.” TED.com. TED, Mar. 2011. Web. 20 Aug. 2016. <https://www.ted.com/talks/ron_gutman_the_hidden_power_of_smiling?language=en>. ↩
- “Validation.” YouTube. Kurt Kuenne, 03 Oct. 2008. Web. 20 Aug. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cbk980jV7Ao>. ↩