When blogging about kindness it seems like I’d only have puppies and rainbows to talk about. Well there is one thing that drives me up a wall and it’s commonly mistaken as a kindness.
“Smile,” he says.
I’m sure that some people think they are acting out of kindness, although probably more don’t think at all. They want you to be happy and more importantly demonstrate your happiness. And somehow most of the time it’s men telling women to smile. Some strange chauvinistic hold out that hasn’t yet been killed by the 21st century.
The feelings I get when someone says this to me are always negative. I’m usually in my head and jarred to hear that someone has a problem with my appearance. I may not be smiling because I’m upset or thinking about something going on in my life that is difficult or complicated. Or I could just be tired and not ready to put on a big fake smile first thing in the morning. It doesn’t even matter if I have a reason or not. Smiling is a decision that is completely up to me. And while I often smile it is not mandatory. Someone telling me to smile just makes me more upset to the point where smiling is the opposite of what I’m feeling.
If this is something you’ve done in the past – told someone to smile – I hope you’ll reconsider your actions. This isn’t kindness. If you see someone who isn’t smiling there are kindness that that can provoke – ask them if everything is okay, smile at them yourself, do something to make them smile, or just move on with your day.
If someone says this to you remember – it’s okay to be sad sometimes, it’s okay not to smile. It’s your decision. I know you want to have a happy life but smiling 24/7 is not a requirement. My life is filled with so much joy and still I’m often told to smile.
What are your kindness pet peeves? Does any “kindness” just drive you up a wall?