When I started writing this post in my head, I was going to tell you all about an annoying habit I have. BUT… we’re trying this new thing at the Clubhouse, where if any of us says something self-deprecating, the nearest person will ask, “Would you like to try again?” so that we can go back and fix it. As we are learning, words are powerful, and they shape how we see ourselves and the world around us; and thus what we do and who we become. Have you ever seen those watermelons that farmers will grow into squares by placing a clear box around them when they are still tender and growing? We need to be so careful about the boxes we put ourselves in.
So instead I am going to tell you about a challenge I’m giving myself (and to you!). It involves something I’ve learned to do because of a box I let myself grow into a long time ago: I hide. Specifically, in public. If someone tries to make eye contact or, heaven forbid, smile at me, my immediate reaction is to look down or look away and pretend I didn’t see it. I pull myself into the box that says things like, “You’re shy. You’re not confident. You don’t have a good smile. Surely they weren’t looking at you. Who are you that some random person would notice you?”
Ugly box full of lies.
Here is the truth, and the big sparkly new box I’m moving into: I am wise and strong and warm. I am confident. I have my own beauty to offer. I have a right to my place in the world. I can do hard things. I am beloved, and have the desire, ability, and responsibility to remind others that they are beloved, too. My kindness matters.
And so, sometime soon (and I’m telling you this now so we can both hold my feet to the fire), our dear Lynette (who is our best cheerleader) and I will venture out to some public location in Nampa’s booming metropolis and I will connect with people. I’m not planning anything big, just this: smile at people. Make eye contact and smile. Maybe give them a kind word or two, but at least smile, and see what kind of little miracles happen.
As I said before, this is a challenge for you, too. Especially if you’re someone who thinks you could never do such a thing. Take the Miracle Smile Challenge, and be prepared to tell us about your experience! We’ll offer a chance to win a fun incentive, but I expect we’ll find that this will be a reward all on its own.
Send your Miracle Smile Challenge stories to firstname.lastname@example.org. I can’t wait to hear how it goes for you… I’ll let you know how it goes for me, too!