Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Smiling Is My Favourite!
Moving to the Mainland from Newfoundland 10 years ago was a hard adjustment. So many things are different here, and most of it I have managed to adapt to quite easily. The thing I have had the most trouble coming to terms with, is how stand-offish and reserved people in Ottawa specifically, seem to be.
Don't get me wrong, I love Ottawa. Really and truly, I do. It is an insanely beautiful, easy-to-navigate city. We have beautiful architecture, lots of history, loads of festivals and more fabulous walk/run/bike paths than you can shake a stick at. But the biggest difference I have found since moving here 10 years ago, is how rarely people make eye contact with each other. And even more scarce!?
How often they SMILE.
My best day in Ottawa to date, was the day I was cheering for my friends running in the NCC half marathon, and I wore a tiara on the sidelines so they could find me. For some reason, everyone I saw that day smiled at me. People waved, said 'hello', and more than one person called me a 'pretty princess'.
In retrospect, they may have thought I was out on a weekend pass from the Royal Ottawa Hospital.
This whole not smiling thing kind of goes against my entire nature, really.
I am a Newfoundlander.
I am happy.
I am a morning person.
I am Smiley McSmileston.
I am hilarious.
I smile when I am uncomfortable, when I am happy, when I am choosing my words carefully in an argument, when I am placing an order at a restaurant, or pretty much almost every time I interact with another human being.
That is the thing. We are human beings. And we are avoiding each other at all costs these days. We are on the phone, texting, driving, rushing, shopping, eating, raising little human beings, working, living.
And trust me, I am not oblivious to reality. I swear, I really do get it. We are all so dang busy. We all have places to go, things to do, people to see, homes to take care of, and I think we can all agree that there are NOT enough hours in the day. But have we really gotten too busy to put on a SMILE?
Well, I'm not.
A couple of weeks ago at work, I started saying "hello" and smiling at every single person I passed in the hallway. We work in the same office together everyday so you would think we would all acknowledge each other, right? Nope.
More often than not, people are not holding open the door for the person behind them, they aren't saying 'please' or 'thank you', and they definitely aren't smiling. Not even those forced constipated smiles on really cranky days. I know that you know the smile I'm talking about.
The response has been good so far...I would say I am batting a 95% average for replies to my smiles and hello's. I can feel that I am already happier and, if you can believe it, even more smiley than I was before. People who had never acknowledged me in the past, are now saying "hello" back. It's a start, right? Albeit a small one. Next step?
Taking this SMILE PROJECT public. Shopping malls, drug stores, the gym, and I think I might go really crazy and try the sidewalk too!!!
Why don't you join me? Make an effort to smile more, and say hello to the people who aren't already engaged in conversation with someone - I bet it makes you happier to spread the positive energy. And it is such an easy thing to do!
My next project is a little old school, and it might be harder to put into practice, but you know what they say. Where there is a will...there is a way.
Ready for it?
Holding open doors for people and saying "thank you". Reviewing it again, just like we are in kindergarten, if that is what it takes.
In all seriousness though...a smile is a beautiful thing. It really does make the giver and the receiver feel great. Do it often enough, and it will put a bounce in your step, and renew your faith in humans when they start responding in kind.
Who cares if they think you just got let out of your rubber room on a day pass?
~I just like to smile, smiling's my favorite. Buddy The Elf
Have an AWESOME and SMILEY day!!!
Love and SMILES,