As a former AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL viewer I always chuckled when Tyra Banks asked the models to “smize.” What’s smizing you ask, well it’s smiling with your eyes. As we all get used to the new normal of our every day lives, I, normally, try to share as many smiles as I can when I’m out in my day, but now with the recommendation of us all wearing masks it’s a little more challenging to convey warmth and encouragement when we can’t see each other’s mouths. Yesterday while I was out and passed someone across the street I looked at them and smiled, as I normally would, and then realized, they can’t see me smile. I was reminded of Tyra Banks and her “smize” technique and chuckled to myself and thought, now those skills could come in handy.
As I’ve shared before, when I leave my house I am always looking for an opportunity to be of service, even if it’s just saying thank you and leaving with a smile at a supermarket, and now, with social distancing, face masks, gloves and everything else going on out there, it takes a bit more effort to let someone know they matter or it’s nice to see them. But in a way, it means more now, because it does take more effort and thought than just smiling and walking away. Now, there are waves, thumbs up, encouraging words, some thought has to go into it that didn’t before. I find myself wanting to think of new and inventive ways to say hello and share some love. And it makes me think about how important it is right now to let people know they matter.
When I was living in the dark I definitely did not share this same attitude, I just wanted people to leave me alone and I didn’t want to draw attention to myself. I walked through my days hoping to just blend in so no one would ask any questions or would possibly see how much pain I was in. I didn’t extend my hand, smile or invite any kind of interaction because I was just wanting to go out, get done what I needed to get done and race back home to isolate and hide. But when I made the commitment to improve my mental and physical health I was encouraged to do the opposite. The suggestion alone made my anxiety spike! I, thinking I could use this as a pass, would say, I don’t feel like I have anything positive to offer someone, so for now I’ll just keep to myself. It was suggested that I do it anyway, to practice contrary action and act “as if” I did believe I did have something to offer. Clearly, I wasn’t going to get out of this, so I set out to do just that, to make an effort to smile, say thank you, ask someone how their day was and take the spotlight off of me, and as I began to do that my anxiety began to subside, because as I reached out to others, they reached out to me, or said thank you, and a positive exchange began to happen. And, it made me feel good. You see, the thing is, we don’t know what’s going on for those around us, we all have challenges and struggles, and when we step outside of ourselves to ask how someone is or thank them for their service, or a job well done, some positive energy is released for both people, and compassion begins to develop for those around us, and that is something we can all use more of right now.
In this ever-changing environment heavy with fear and uncertainty, take the time to acknowledge those around you, we’re all going through a difficult time and we’re all going through it together. Smile, or “smize” if your mouth isn’t visible, wave, whatever you can do to say “hey, nice to see you.” As we all live much more secluded lives the human contact we do have becomes that much more important, so spread some love out there, some understanding, some compassion, and even though we can’t give each other a hug, let others know that you care and they’re not alone by your actions, it may be the only interaction they have that day, and possibly yours, make it count. SLAY on!
SLAY OF THE DAY: Do you go out of your way to let people know they matter while you’re out? How do you do that? What can you do to do more? How have people done that with you? Have you appreciated it? How did that make you feel? What can you today when you encounter someone to let them know they matter? How is that different than how you would usually do it? We all have the power to make someone’s day great, and by doing so you may just make yours shine a little brighter as well. Smize on!
S – self L – love A – appreciate Y – you