Smiling at strangers

The assignment for last week in the year of loving ourselves fearlessly was to Smile at Strangers. It went oh-so-nicely with my favorite people moment, of which the conclusion was that a smile and two kind words can turn around your day, from my London trip! Here’s what j said about smiling at strangers, in the 52-52 guide:
“You may feel surprised by the times when you hesitate, or by the times when you absolutely don’t hesitate, and you see it happen, the little jolt in someone else, the light that comes on behind the eyes of a person who was, until the moment of your smile, running on autopilot.”

Smiling at strangers isn’t too hard for me. Not in the sense that I go about my whole day with a smile plastered on my face, but in the sense that I do my best to be kind to people and smile at them often.
I think that we don’t do it often enough. I think that people are so absorbed in whatever their everyday holds that they forget to notice other people… And it’s not a new phenomenon, either.

I recall working at the flower shop many years ago, and being kind and smiling at every customer. Every stranger.
An American lady came in and wanted 12 roses. I asked if they were for herself, or if she was buying them for someone. Given that I asked, we had a short chat while I was making the bouquet for her.
I explained to her that I asked especially because here in Romania, the custom is to buy an uneven number of flowers for surprising people, and an even number of flower if taken to the cemetery. And while personally I don’t see what the big deal is, many people here are likely to make a huge fuss if you happen to confuse the two.
After paying for the bouquet and just as we were saying goodbye, she stopped, turned around and said, “Thank you for the chat. I’ve been here for over a year and people aren’t too friendly, from what I noticed. It was a nice change!”, before walking out of the shop.

Needless to say, I was beyond happy that she felt this way about our short encounter, and ever since then I have made a point of it to smile as often as possible, even at strangers.
And, aside from the few times when I managed to pick up some stalkers, I haven’t regretted this choice.

For week 23, the assignment is to Let go, deeply.
In the 52-52 guide, j suggests it this way:
“Just before you go to bed think about the day that has just passed – all the fraught, happy, stressful, surprising, big, little, ordinary moments that make up a day – and feel grateful for them. They are, after all, absolutely unrepeatable. However delicious or distasteful they were, they were also fleeting, and they’re gone now. Remember them, and then let them go. Fully. Deeply. Tomorrow, everything is new.”

Generally speaking, I have a hard time of letting go of stuff. Lately, I’ve had so much on my plate, and so much worry overall, that this assignment will either come in very handy, or make me feel like I failed if I can’t fully let go… I’m hoping it’ll be the first though.

How was your week? Did you smile at strangers? Do you usually smile at strangers or are you shy and avoid eye contact altogether? If the latter, do you think it’d be a good idea to push yourself with this?

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop.

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