Smile at the world, just smile.

Ever feel just entirely drained? Well as a student at a competitive university I definitely do.  I am a bit older than most people at my Universty, and a transfer student so it is a little hard to make friends. For myself, this was shocking. I am an extremely social butterfly. What I have noticed is a lot of other people are not social, not interested in meeting new people, or exceptionally friendly. Now as someone studying psychology, I can understand some of the basic reasons for these social experiences. In our society, most people, tend to want to avoid social interactions with people they don’t know for a variety of reasons. Mostly it is because they are preoccupied with what they have to do, school work, etc. Although, something I have noticed is that people are very uncomfortable with eye contact with a stranger, let alone smiling at one. I have smiled randomly at passersby several times and a lot of the times they stare blankly or look away. I wonder why? In times of so much discomfort, instability, and insecurity why would an act of kindness add to one’s discomfort?

Now as someone studying psychology, I can understand some of the basic reasons for these social experiences. In our society, most people, tend to want to avoid social interactions with people they don’t know for a variety of reasons. Mostly it is because they are preoccupied with what they have to do, school work, etc. Although, something I have noticed is that people are very uncomfortable with eye contact with a stranger, let alone smiling at one. I have smiled randomly at passersby several times and a lot of the times they stare blankly or look away. I wonder why? In times of so much discomfort, instability, and insecurity why would an act of kindness add to one’s discomfort?

In our society, most people, tend to want to avoid social interactions with people they don’t know for a variety of reasons. Mostly it is because they are preoccupied with what they have to do, school work, etc. Although, something I have noticed is that people are very uncomfortable with eye contact with a stranger, let alone smiling at one. I have smiled randomly at passersby several times and a lot of times they stare blankly or look away. I wonder why? In times of so much discomfort, instability, and insecurity why would an act of kindness add to one’s discomfort

As someone who has suffered from depression and still struggles day to day, any act of genuine kindness towards me is something I not only appreciate but am grateful for. So, almost anytime I make eye contact with a stranger, I  make it a point to smile back. Sometimes I am met graciously with a reciprocatory smile. I don’t know about anyone else out there who has this same feeling, but I try to envision a world that was continuously met with welcoming smiles. What kind of a world would that be? Perhaps one that is not so lonely? Or one that is at least optimistic and friendly. To explore this phenomenon of social discomfort I will continue to smile at everyone I make eye contact with, regardless of their response. I hope anyone reading this will too. As the saying goes, “Everyone you have ever met is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind, always.”

This is where I add in my little anime anecdotes. If you have ever watched my hero academia or Boko no Hero than you might be familiar with All Might the hero who is the universal Symbol for peace. When asked by his young admirer how he can smile so much in the face of danger he replies “I will save people with a smile, the symbol of peace cannot be daunted by evil. I smile to show the pressure of heroes and to trick the fear inside of me.” Whether or not you are into anime, psychology, or gratitude All Might has a point. It is in each and every one of us to make a difference, or even the slightest gesture of a smile can create a ripple effect of gratitude and positivity.

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