Just recently I posted for another blog an entry entitled Smile. It was all about how I was not a natural smiler. I don't want to cross-post but wanted to elaborate on that thought a little deeper.
Smiling is such a beautiful gesture. It's a gift. A smile says so much. But often I've notice in people a superficial grin that has been less than lovely.
It happens all too often. A smile that's meaningless. What is the true sentiment behind our grins? I've asked myself a thousand times.
Recently I took a job working from home, which at times, proves to be a real blessing. It involves customer service, so a smile is at the top of the to-do-list. However, often a smile is the last thing that appears upon my mouth or heart, for that matter.
I am always cognizant of it when the person on the other end of the line is all but cooperative. Either they do not have the information requested, they do not understand what I am saying, the answers coming back are muffled due to a defective interference, or they are very impatient, demanding service NOW.
I have to constantly remind myself of what industry I find myself immersed in and force not only a friendly sounding smile through the phone, but one that genuinely comes from within. Moreover, my job is not the only place that this rings true.
In the blog post Smile, I shared how smiling was not always something I did, nor was it natural. I don't know that I looked mean and unapproachable (or maybe sometimes I did), but I certainly did not always look pleasant.
As I've been dealing with customers more and more and challenges arise, I am quick to remember the words recently penned in regards to making smiling an intentional exercise. I figure by me purposing to smile often, it will indeed become a natural way of life. In this instance, faking it until I make it will be all too acceptable.
Smiling from within is needed more in our world. Too often passerby's smiles are cheap, fleeting and far from authentic. Instead of it being a heartfelt gesture, it is minimized to an empty, obligated courtesy. I find this true in public with strangers, as well as, unfortunately, at church from week to week.
But even though I write this as something that bothers me immensely, I must look inside to examine my own heart. It's not so much about pointing fingers, but more about my own soul-searching. Matthew 7: 3-5, Psalm 139: 23-24.
So how can I know that I am offering a real smile versus one that is manufactured? A real smile can be felt in the pit of my gut. A real smile makes me feel good even if not responded to. A real smile is initiated by the Holy Spirit. Certain muscles are used with real smiles that are not used with plastic, painted-on ones. Additionally, I believe that others can detect the genuine from the counterfeit.
Moreover, as I am daily assisting with the needs of those in desperate crisis, I can practice what I preach. The person on the other end of the receiver ought to "hear" and feel my authenticity. They should know that I am smiling even if not looking at my face.
When I am in the presence of others, my smile ought to speak from my heart to theirs. When I am out in public and encounter a stranger, my smile ought to convey a sincerity that fake smiles cannot.
In essence, my smile needs to mimic my heart's voice. I realize that some days will take more effort than others. I may need to dig deep from within and keep digging until I find the treasure. And yes, a smile is a true treasure-rare and precious.