My Smile Project

Over the past few months I’ve been conducting a personal project I’ve dubbed “My Smile Project”. The results have been fascinating.

My number one rule is to never, ever tell someone to smile if they’re not. I’ve been on the receiving end of being told to smile—when inside I’m an unhappy mess—so I know better than to presume that I have the right to tell someone to smile. Who knows. Maybe someone died.

That being said, the purpose of my project has two parts:

  1. To hopefully brighten a moment in time for a fellow Vancouverite; and
  2. Either boost my good mood, or help pull myself out of a funk.

As I said, the results have been fascinating so far. The more I smile, the better I feel. Over the course of these few months, my moods have felt lighter and brighter, and I’m more inclined to see the goodness in my surroundings and the people who fill them.

What I’ve found most interesting of all, though, is the reactions from people. I’d say about 50 per cent of the people I smile at, smile back, and out of those smile-backs, many wonderful conversations with strangers have resulted.

About 25 per cent of people don’t want to make eye contact. That’s okay. In an increasingly unsettled society, making contact with people can be a risk that some don’t want to make. Or perhaps they’re having a really awful day and want to be left alone. I can respect that. Sometimes the crush of people around us can be too much.

The last 25 per cent of people are the ones I find most fascinating. These are the people who react to my smile with shock. Perhaps their eyes go wide, or they’ll give me a funny look. For this special group, I like throw in a wink or an eyebrow waggle, just to stir their noodle a bit more. Perhaps later in their day, they’ll have a little chuckle about me.

Anyhoo, that’s it. I wanted to share my special project with you all. xo