Sunday, March 14, 2010

SMILE campaign

I have a lot of people randomly ask me for advice. People I don't know confide in me about what is going on in their life and ask what I think they should do. This has happened so many times in the last couple of years, I have really started to wonder what it is about me that invites these spontaneous intimacies with, well basically, a stranger. So I started asking people.

And I got the same answer phrased a variety of ways:

"You really listen."

"I can tell you really care."

"You have such a caring spirit."

I wonder...

Why do so many people feel more comfortable talking with a stranger about the intimate details of their lives, than with their friends or family?

What is it we are doing as families and parents that separates us from each other and makes us feel this way?

What is it we are doing as a society, that makes us feel it is safer to seek out the unknown for advice instead of the familiar?

I have some ideas but I definitely don't have all the answers to these questions. Still, if I really reduce it down to it's finest point, I think the point is this:

There are a lot of lonely people out there, for whatever reason.

Which realization led me to the following question:

"What small thing can I do to make each person I meet feel a little more connected, even loved?"

After a lot of thought, I decided to start a SMILE campaign.

It works like this:


Yep that's it.

When you're driving, when you're in the market, when you're taking a walk, when you're at a restaurant, doctor's office, wherever...SMILE.

I tried it out. And I was amazed at how this simple act, something that cost me literally nothing, affected people. Because most people I smile at...well...they smile back. Whatever expression may have been on their faces, sadness, anger, pain, indifference, is nearly always replaced immediately with a beautiful smile.

But wait.

There is a side benefit.

I actually started to feel more connected myself. People I met were no longer complete strangers, because we had at least one thing in common - our


If you often feel like the majority of the people you meet are strangers and you feel alone, start your own SMILE campaign. And let me know how it works for you, because I think we could be onto something big here . . .


Take my "Smile Campaign" Survey at the top of the page on the right:-)


lissa said...

it's a great idea but I can't seem to bring myself to smile at people, I think I'm just used to not smiling at strangers so it's very a challenge, will think on this though

Millie said...

Lovely thoughts Julia. A smile costs nothing, exercises those little muscles around your mouth & can elicit the most surprising responses. I'll join your campaign in a heartbeat.
Millie ^_^