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  • Writer's pictureKaren Shayne

No More Step and Repeats

With so many changes and chaos going on in the world right now, sometimes I wonder what happened to everyone’s smile?   I just spent the last 20 minutes looking on the internet and the only smiles I saw were posed ones.  Needless to say, that did not make me smile. 

For four years, the Women Survivors Alliance hosted an event called SURVIVORville and each year we drag out the step and repeat where folks gather along the red carpet, pose and smile or make funny faces.  Bottom line, they are celebrating their life.  This year I noticed the photographer focused mainly on the red carpet moments, thus there are lots of “say-cheese-for-the-camera-please” smiles.  While all that is OK, I looked back to the first year’s photos where there were fewer “poses” and more true, authentic smiles. 

Strangely, while working with our webmaster and videographer on our visual projects, I continually found myself asking him to use the more candid shots as opposed to the posed shots found more frequently in this year’s event.

That made me stop and think.  Do we really need a step and repeat to smile?

I just haven’t smiled enough in the last couple of years.  Yeah, the stresses of life and work sometimes leave us without the one thing we should never be without  - a smile. 

Think about it. To everyone, all over the world, a smile is the universal expression of friendliness and goodwill. Even a baby recognizes a smile is a blessing and it responds accordingly. Smiling is something that is understood by everyone, regardless of culture, race, or religion; it is internationally known. Cross-cultural studies have shown that smiling is a means of communication throughout the world, but there are large differences between different cultures. A smile can also be spontaneous or artificial.

So, what power does a smile have?  Well, it lowers your blood pressure, helps your immune system to work better, and releases natural endorphins and serotonin to start.  But what does it do for others?

Well, it challenges the grumpiest of grumps at the traffic light.  It warms the face of the waiter when he realizes he has written down the wrong order.  It gives hope to someone who is having a really bad day.  It warms the souls of even the coldest hearts like a warm cup of hot cocoa on a snowy winter day. Even over the phone you can tell when someone is smiling. During those times that unseen friendly smile can be a mood changer.

To me a smile shows a promise of a pleasant personality and a giving soul.  And when it is missing, honestly, I don’t believe one can be as beautiful.  So there, I said it.  And, yes, I am preaching to myself.  There, self.  Take that one.

What I am realizing is when you lose your smile you really lose yourself.  You lose your ability to influence and without saying a word.  You lose your ability to say “I love you” without speaking the words. You lose your ability witness to others about who you are and what you are all about. You lose the greatest gift you can give someone – a gift free gift to someone and one that keeps on giving long after you have left a room.

Yes, what I have learned most recently is a smile is representative of who you are and what you can offer to the world. So, I have made a commitment not to be seen without a smile and a positive comment to compliment.   So, no more step and repeats, people.  Let’s get some authentic smiles in the house. After all, our loved ones need it, our friends need it, and right now our world needs it. Time to smile everyone.  Share your love and free gift to the world.    Carry on - with a smile. :-)

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