One parents evening when I was in primary school the Headmaster pulled my parents aside and asked exasperated, “What have you done to Isabelle?”
A wave of panic and confusion swam over my parent faces…until he continued with…
“She’s ALWAYS smiling!”
It’s true. I am a smiley person and I appreciate people with a sense of humor, I even appreciate people who try to be funny but aren’t, aware of that persons feelings…at least they tried! I don’t expect everyone to find everything funny and I can’t deny that my sense of humor has been questioned…it is often that I will end up in fits of giggles over something no-one else really thought was worth a chuckle but my argument is that I appreciate the lighter side of life. I am open minded to comedy apart from when the jokes are slapstick or smutty; that is when I struggle to lift the corners of my mouth.
People describe me as having a “sunny disposition” and I often get asked what it is that makes me so happy. It is simply how I like to lead my life and so far it has been beneficial to how people portray me – people find those who smile a lot more approachable, easier to confide in, more comfortable to be around. In face-to-face customer service jobs you are TAUGHT to give “service with a smile”. At University it helped me make friends, people to gain trust in me, build a good relationship with my lecturers and have a damn good time. However, since entering the professional world I have found that my “sunny disposition” is being clouded over. Very often, if someone smiles a lot or laughs at silly things other people can think that the smiley individual is just stupid. Someone once even gave me a plaque that said “I smile because I have absolutely no idea what’s going on” – an affectionate joke but something I find completely inaccurate. I think someone who smiles and laughs a lot is proving their strength. It is no secret life is tough, jobs are stressful on a daily basis and personal circumstances can get very low so for someone to always have the ability to produce a genuine smile is something if I didn’t do, I would be envious of, not judgmental about.
When I first had this realisation it really brought me down, how can something I thought was so positive backfire in such a way? Then I realised, it was simple; I like being the happy smiley girl that people like being around, I like being the person to brighten up someone’s day and I know I am not stupid. I have had academic success and I might even go as far to say that I have common sense too! So I have decided that the people who judge those with a smile are the less fortunate and if I have to work a little bit harder to prove my intelligence, then so be it! If everyone approached life a little more positively it would be a much better place to be so I make it my mission to not have my spirits dampened.
So tomorrow, when you go about your daily duties, take a minute, just to smile.
World…watch out, I am heading in, smile first.