a good word

if you only say one word, make it a good word, and if your only action is a smile, smile like you mean it.

 

A friend of mine wrote this in her last blog post, amidst a greater discussion. These words jumped off the page at me. These few words say a lot about goodness and sincerity – two things it would appear our world increasingly lacks. I guess the first part made the most impact on me – if you only say one word, make it a good word. I lived by that mentality a lot growing up. I was quiet a lot of the time, because if I was going to say something I wanted it to count. Useless words seemed a crime.

People thought I was shy, but I wasn’t. I just didn’t want to fill an already loud society with more meaningless words that I wasn’t sure I meant, and did not need to share. When I did speak, people who had sense listened. I don’t say that to toot my own horn, but when somebody who is always watching and doesn’t waste words speaks, you listen. Unfortunately I was swayed by the foolish pursuits of my fellow high schoolers, and in an effort to not be left in a social ditch, I started talking. It still wasn’t much, but at least I wasn’t the mute who only talked to answer questions in class. I’ve always kept to myself, that hasn’t changed. But since high school I’ve wasted more than my share of words.

If you’re going to say one word, make it a good word. My blog has wasted a lot of words too, I think.

I would like to be able to go back to speaking little, watching much, and understanding more. I don’t know that I can. I don’t know if I am able. I have become too accustomed to speaking uselessly. I am going to stop doing that. I may continue to write aimlessly, but I will weigh my spoken words more truly.

As for the second part, if your only action is a smile, smile like you mean it, that may take more work. When you have an unsatisfying job and very little social life outside of it, it is frequently necessary to put on a smile that you just don’t feel. But how much better would our lives be if we made those smiles count? When you have to plaster on a smile that has no feeling, think of something else – something that really does make you smile, something you’re happy about or grateful for – and let that be the reason behind your smile.

I’ve found that while you’re talking to the client or parent or customer that’s wasting your time and you have to keep that fake smile on your face… keeping a funny thought on reserve is a lifesaver. Well, funny or happy. Just something to make that smile extend from your mouth up to your eyes a little bit, enough to make it real. That’s what I try to do at least. It doesn’t always work, but I think it’s a good start.

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