I wanted to share with you real quick an experience I had this morning. I have been resisting this Myki crap for as long as I can until this morning it was rudely thrust upon me. I bought the damn card and topped it up with my hard earned cash, only to realise that it wasn’t even going to get me from Geelong to Melbourne. So I was in an awesome mood.
I got to Southern Cross Station to stamp my V-Line ticket for access to the tram. The lady at the counter looked at me blankly as I walked up and offered no greeting. Her “what can I do you for today?” somehow got lost in the dense space between us. I soldiered on, presenting my ticket and asking politely for a stamp. She obliged and still the silence and blank stare persisted. Usually at this point, and hubby would give a more apt description of my haughtiness, I would crumble under the pressure of my brain screaming at me “THIS IS NOT RIGHT WOMAN! Why is she in customer service anyway if she can’t even have the decency to look at me and greet me? WHERE HAS THE NOTION OF COMMON POLITENESS GONE?!!!” Generally, to the mortification of my non-confrontational husband, I would say something dripping in non-constrained sarcasm such as “thank you very much” and send her a death glare fit for the battle field.
I am proud to say that today another voice weighed in, quietly and non-assuming. “You don’t know what she is going through right now. You don’t know her story. You don’t know how her morning went.” You don’t know her story. So I fixed a smile and said genuinely and with as much compassion and cheer as I could muster with little miss haughty tugging at the wiring in my brain, “thank you, I hope you have a nice day.” I expected nothing, the silence could continue and I wouldn’t mind. But she met my eyes and her face split into a dazzling smile. “Thank you”. I beamed.
Lesson 1: Drop your expectations and you’ll struggle less with small daily experiences.
Lesson 2: Sometimes it is the quiet self we should listen to. Don’t get me wrong, assertiveness has it’s place, but only when you are sure of it’s deservedness.
Lesson 3: You don’t know their story. She was beautiful when she smiled, she transformed from the bitch at the V-Line desk into that beautiful Indian lady that stamped my ticket. All because of…
Lesson 4: Let go of what you think others “should” act like. Should’s can rule your life. Notice when you decide you should do a certain thing or s/he should….(care more, help more, be more…) Should’s are usually not helpful.
Lesson 5: Give your smile away very freely. You never know who needs it more than you.
Also, as a side bonus not only do you get the benefit of warm fuzzies on the inside from improving someone else’s day, you may just improve your own outlook simultaneously! You can create feelings of happiness through forced smiling. In Uni we did a disgusting research experiment that involved a lot of dripping slobber on desks. It showed that holding a pen in your teeth which forced the smile muscles into action caused us to rate cartoons and videos as funnier than the Uni kids who were holding the pen in a slack mouth not requiring the smile muscles to turn on. In short, turning the smile muscles on even involuntarily caused an increase in joy. Simple, effective, awesome. Try it! Come on now, I can see a smile coming ’round the corner, it’s doing 99 ’round the bend…and…there it is! Feel better? ‘Course you do, it’s science!
Please join me today (tomorrow, everyday this year, decade, century) and smile as much as you can. I dare you. Keep grinning.