Monday, October 24, 2016

Put on a Happy Face

You have likely heard or read it takes fewer muscles to smile than to frown. One Internet source I read indicated it takes somewhere between 17 to 26 muscles to smile and between 43 and 62 to frown. Given the gap of effort and the amount of human energy we save using less facial muscles, why do I see so few smiles as of late. I’ve heard the argument that it takes more muscles to frown, uses more energy, burns more calories and potentially helps you lose weight. That’s a spurious conclusion and does not justify frowning.

There are enough good reasons to frown. You cannot live life without encountering hurdles that wipe the smile off our face. Watching a news telecast is enough to put on a frown. Following politics, no matter which party you align with will wipe a smile off one’s face faster than you can say Democrat or Republican. The breakdown of family and the society as a whole is discouraging. There are plenty of reasons not t0 put on a happy face.

I attend a gym frequently and normally hold a door open for a woman or a senior adult. Too many times, the person passes through with little or no acknowledgement. There’s just the whoosh of them making a mad dash for an available treadmill. No “thank you” and not too many smiles.

I find people are suspicious and assume you’re up to no good or you are looking for something. Maybe it happens so few times, the person does not know how to react. They may even think the gesture is chauvinistic which it is not. I was raised to be polite. Old habits do not die easily.

When someone says “thank you,” it restores my hope in the human spirit. When someone smiles, flashing their pearly whites for some meager effort, I wish I could say what I’m thinking. “You should smile more often! You have a beautiful smile!”

Here’s a Scripture verse to meditate upon on your worst day, full of frowns:
Proverbs 15:13 “A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.”

Rejoice, be thankful and be glad! It may overcome some of the sorrow of our hearts! We may even find ourselves smiling just a little bit. It’s a baby step, but who knows where it may lead.

P.S. Am I just being too Pollyanna? What’s your view?

Robert Parlante
October 2016

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