Northern Germany in early December can be quite cold and dark, with a day shorter than 8 hours even three weeks before winter solstice. And my experience is that besides the darkness, few people here smile but run around looking unhappy displaying an inverted smile.

I let it affect me for quite a while since I arrived from Israel in late October. But now, I decided it’s enough and to make as much a difference as I can. My goal: smile at as many people as I can! The minimum I set for myself is to smile at three people per day. And that is three people I don’t know yet.

By smiling at people, I don’t mean to force a superficial, artificial smile and pretend to be friendly but to look at another person with love and appreciation. For instance, smile at the cashier in the supermarket and talk to her/him giving her/him your full attention for a short while. Or, smile at the person standing next to you in the line at a ticket office. I feel that many times we reduce people around us to their respective roles (cashier, salesperson, …) and don’t realize that there is another human being that we are interacting with.

My experience: 80% of the people smile back and open up immediately, 10% need a bit longer but the effect is the same. Only 10% will not smile. So, most people reflect back the friendliness and warmth you send out. And it is wonderful! Plus, there is nothing to be afraid of and it doesn’t even cost us anything. In the worst case, some people might think that I am strange 😊 So what, I can live with that.

And some experiences are quite special: yesterday, when I was walking around in the city center of Lübeck I smiled at a woman of maybe 70 years standing outside a restaurant waiting for it to open. When I passed her, she said to me “Thank you for the smile!”. I was amazed by that response and very happy at the same time. Another person with the same vision and mind-set! We had a short conversation and I said goodbye. The essence of these encounters is, I feel, that we are all connected beyond the surface (age, gender, status, etc.) and that what we give comes back to us. So, if we smile and appreciate our “fellow humans” it is coming back. And it is wonderful to see the goodness in other people! Heart-to-heart communication doesn't need any words.

Just imagine what will happen, when everyone of us smiles at just three people a day and they again smile at another three people and so on and so forth….

Are you in for the SMILE REVOLUTION! Share your feedback and spread the message 😊

P.S. A central aspect in the Torah is “Love thy neighbor as thyself”. I feel this love flowing when I smile at other people!

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