Smiling is such a small act, but it might just be the most important action you can take upon meeting someone.

Photo by Michael Dam on Unsplash

I’ve always loved smiling. This simple act creates a joy that is very hard to replicate and it can be done so easily. Even more amazing than the joy I get from smiling is the happiness that expounds from others as they return the favor with a teeth-showing grin of their own.

I have a poster hanging in my room that often reminds me of the amazing joys of happiness. It’s a quote from the Buddha that says “Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases from being shared.” I whole-heartedly believe in the importance of this statement.

Happiness for ourselves should be at the top of our priorities, but this happiness often fades without someone to share it with. When we go to social gatherings, we go because we’re looking forward to participating in a joyful situation. We walk into the event with a smile, excited for what is to come. For this happiness to remain, however, we must be greeted with an equal amount of happiness from those around us. If everyone were to simply stare at us as we walked in, our happiness would soon fade. As humans, we mirror the emotions of those around us.

Therefore, our happiness plays an equally important role for ourselves and the people around us. A single person or a group of people have to be willing to initiate this happiness that others can expand upon. This is often one of the major functions of a party’s host. They are there to make you feel welcomed and give you a sense of freedom and support to show your happiness.

Spreading happiness goes far beyond large social gatherings. You can spread happiness to a stranger on the sidewalk or a friend you see from across the room. We can spread happiness through our conversations and our actions, but one of the most powerful ways to spread a sense of joy is through our body language. Smiling, in particular, is an essential part of emanating joy.

A casual smile in someone’s direction triggers their mirror neurons. They see you smiling, and their neurons used for smiling are likely to form a grin. Smiling is a pathway toward being in a better mood. You’ve just lit your first candle. Now, things can begin to take on an exponential level of growth. Not only are you spreading happiness to the people you smile at, but most of the people you smile at will spread happiness to the people around them through their smile. You’ve just created a chain of happiness and are well on your way to lighting a thousand candles.

Smile to Reassure Others

Smiling goes much further than simply spreading happiness. A smile can be a form of reassurance as well. If you have ever seen someone fail or do something embarrassing, you may have shown them a small smile. This smile was likely aimed more toward reassuring them than spreading happiness.

When people do something that embarrasses them. Their first reaction is often to look around to see if anyone noticed because they don’t want the story of what they did to spread. For example, if someone trips over their feet in gym class, they may look around to see if anyone noticed. During this moment, you might smile in their direction. This smile is likely aimed at reassuring them that everything will be all right. It’s not given with the intent of spreading happiness per se, rather it is done to make the best out of what may be perceived as an unfortunate event.

This smile may feel less genuine because it is not something created solely from our emotional state, but it should not be seen as inauthentic because we’re acting with the correct motivations. A smile of reassurance can ease the nerves of those around us, making it more likely that we will also receive that reassurance when we need it.

In Conclusion

Smiling is one of the most important actions we can carry out daily. We may not always be in a mood conducive to smiling, but we must take advantage of the moments when we are in the right state. Smiling is a key piece of maintaining happiness for ourselves and an even more crucial part of spreading happiness to others. Through smiling we keep our match flickering longer, allowing us to light more candles.

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