What a difference a smile makes. I have just tried the guided meditations that come with Tara Brach's Radical Acceptance and one of them makes you visualise a smile. It is pretty difficult to not start smiling from even just imagining a smile in your mind - even before you are supposed to put a smile on your lips. The joy that it gives to see my four-month-old boy smile is amazing - the first time he smiled was heart melting.
I have also been reading Win Bigly, about persuasion and how reality can be split as everyone interprets it differently. Someone going around with a frown all day is likely to perceive those around them as unkind and unfriendly. Those that go around with a smile on their face all day are likely to perceive the world as a happy, helpful place. Because reality is not fixed. It is in our own minds and our actions rub off on other people.
This also reminds me of Gaby Reece who says, "go first". When you go into a lift, don't expect others to speak to you - go first. At a party or a conference, don't expect others to approach you - go first. Want others to be kind to you? Go first.
This resonates a lot with me as I have tried to be less introverted over the years. Smiling is also going first. It is amazing how contagious it is, and it also starts to build the realisation that we can make our reality anything that we want it to be. It is in our thoughts that we have complete control. We must realise that the world around us, and even our own bodies (as the Stoics would say as we can be struck down by illness), is out of our control. But there is no reality, only our perception of it. We definitely have control over our own thoughts and choices and so we are more powerful than we imagine. We have the ability to shape our own reality through our perception of it.