smiling project : day 1

Because of your smile you make life more beautiful. -Thich Nhat Hanh


I like to think if the 1st of the month as a beginning. This is a great time to revaluate intentions and goals for the month as well as take on new practices. This month I am going to focus on smiling – more. For those of you that know me this might sound weird since I am often seen smiling and laughing. What I really want is to be more mindful of when I am not smiling and smile then and also grow to love my smile. Science has shown us again and again that smiling is great for our health. Smiling boots immunity, relives stress, makes us feel good, cheers up those around us, and if that isn’t enough it also makes us so much cuter.

This little, shall we call it, smiling project is good for me on another level. When I was a kid I was teased a lot for my smile. I had a giant gap between my front teeth, had to wear a head gear (only at night thank god, but still, it made slumber parties suck) and to top it off I had a family member tell me every time I went to their house how my smile ruined a precious family portrait. For all of those reasons and more I never enjoyed my smile growing up or most of my adult life. It wasn’t until I was in my late 20’s that it dawned on me that I could let all this shame and resentment go and walk through the fear of ruining photos with my smile.

As much as I am embarrassed to admit it, I am not in love with my smile however, today I am willing to work towards changing my attitude and perception around it. The thing is I actually love smiling, always have, it feels good to me and I enjoy doing it. I feel this puts me in a great position to be able to practice appreciating my smile in a way I haven’t in the past. The Thich Nhat Hanh quote I posted above is one of my favorite quotes of his. It reminds me how much our energy and expressions affect our world, just by smiling we have the ability to make the world a more beautiful place.

So here we go. Everyday this month I am going to take a photo of myself smiling. At the end of the month I’ll post them all. In a way I feel like I have come full circle. In graduate school I was obsessed with making videos of myself crying. It was very therapeutic¬†for me and I am glad that I made them. While there is something quite moving and beautiful about crying I feel smiling can be equally as affecting and appealing.

This project is two-fold: be mindful of when I am not smiling and change that and look at myself smiling each day to become more comfortable with it. A year ago I would have considered this an art project, today it is a self-care practice I am engaging in to create a change in my outlook and self-esteem. Either way I think it is going to be fun and I look forward to reporting on it each week.

I hope you all have a great evening and see you back here tomorrow, I have a yummy new recipe to post!



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