Appreciation and a True Smile Back

Have you noticed how many parents instruct their children to smile back or say ‘hello’ when you first meet them?

In my part-time work at a supermarket checkout many families come through every day and I enjoy looking into the eyes of the babies and children because I find that in the way they look at me they are truly seeing me and feeling who I am, exploring who or what is there to be felt. So I look at them and sometimes I can feel that we are truly connected in that moment and nothing more needs to be said or done.

But the parents, wanting their child to ‘be polite’, often instruct the child to smile back or say hello: it feels like they are being asked to perform on behalf of their parents.

In reflecting on my own childhood, and that perhaps I was brought up in the same way, I wondered if I sometimes smile to be polite too?

I know that in my work it is expected of me to smile and be nice, and I can switch that on really easily, but it feels so much lovelier when the smile is a genuine one from deep inside, one that arises because I am enjoying the experience of truly meeting another person – be they adult or child – and my inner playfulness simply and naturally bubbles up, and I naturally smile back in response.

I feel a true smile like this also comes from appreciation. For example, I was recently in a conversation with two beautiful ladies who were expressing their appreciation of me and as I felt what they were saying, my whole body responded with a delicious warm feeling and I began to smile because it felt great. As they watched me, I noticed that they were smiling back in response and our smiles simply grew and grew with the gorgeous feeling of harmony that was developing between the three of us – they appreciated me and I appreciated them in that moment.

And that is what I am learning – to appreciate – both with others and myself.

I was on a course run by Universal Medicine recently where we did a practical exercise on listening to others with appreciation: it showed me how much I listen with judgment, and that judgment of another is impossible if we listen with appreciation… and when we express that appreciation, the true smile cannot help but be there too.

I have found that truly connecting with and deeply appreciating another human being is a heart-warming experience.

Inspired by the work of Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine.

By Carmel Reid

925 thoughts on “Appreciation and a True Smile Back

  1. “and my inner playfulness simply and naturally bubbles up, and I naturally smile back in response.” Reading this and my body was smiling.

  2. Thank you Carmel, it’s a beautiful and simple exercise to bring into our lives to listen to others with appreciation, and offer understanding instead of criticism or judgement. Even if it’s not voiced, it is felt.

  3. Isn’t that evil how we teach children to use a smile to manipulate a situation? Like, do we seriously think that it has worked for us therefore imparting a valuable life skill?

  4. There is so much behind a smile, when we smile for who we are everyone melts around us.
    A true smile is worth double it’s weight in Gold.

  5. “I have found that truly connecting with and deeply appreciating another human being is a heart-warming experience.” I so agree Carmel. I love appreciating other people but find appreciating myself a tad more difficult as yet. It’s an ongoing project…….

  6. We were in a line at the checkout in a very busy grocery store and we had a little child with us who absolutely captivated the lady on the checkout. she kept working but was chatting away to the child to the point where everything stopped the checkout lady only had eyes as it where for this child who is as bright as a button and extremely engaging. It was a very beautiful encounter it was clear to everyone that the child brought joy to all who met her and even better was that no one behind us in the queue seemed to mind as they were equally captivated by the scene in front of them. It was one of those heartfelt moments that everyone enjoys and wishes that there were many more such encounters for them to enjoy.

  7. The fact that there are people in the world who are able to truly connect with children is a wonderful thing. And I reckon that there are many many more than we perhaps would initially assume.

  8. “I have found that truly connecting with and deeply appreciating another human being is a heart-warming experience.” I completely agree.

  9. I can remember as a child wrapping myself around my mother legs and hiding in her coat to avoid saying hello to people it was so cringe worthy having to say hello to total strangers I hated it. And I dislike parents who expect their young children to say hello to me, if they don’t want to as I remember how I disliked saying hello when I was small. Why do we put such unnecessary burdens on such young children?

    1. I can remember a young child wiping her cheek after I kissed her goodbye – she must have felt my being ‘nice’ and it didn’t feel good to her. Her mother told her off but I supported the child saying I bet she is picky about going to birthday parties too? The mother replied with surprise, ‘yes’. So I explained that the little girl is very sensitive, can feel energy and that we as adults needed to appreciate her absolute honesty.

      1. Yes when I go to visit my grandchildren I wait for them to come to me – and so far they run into my arms. I never want to put a young one into feeling they ‘have to’ hug or kiss someone because they are a relative and its expected of them.

  10. You raise a great point here to consider Carmel – to listen without judgement, and to truly appreciate another are what makes our connections with others true and loving.

  11. What you show Carmel is how we learn from really young to please our parents and from there learn to please others and be liked rather than honouring first what children innately know to be true.

  12. A real smile vs a put on or forced smile makes a massive difference to the person receiving the smile too. One invites another to share the joy and the other asks another to also fake it.

  13. I had a some of these true smiles shared and appreciated today by those involved and they light up the world. We are family, we are all connected, more of this please, it is our natural way.

  14. I met someone ( a stranger) this week at a meeting and appreciated her for the way she spoke up in a challenging and assertive way as to how she felt about the topic under discussion. She was genuinely surprised as she said she wasn’t sure how it had come over. We went on to have a beautiful conversation. Appreciating and supporting others begins with supporting ourselves.

  15. Allowing children to be who they truly are- without having to smile or hug someone they don’t wish to engage with is very important. It teaches young ones to trust their feelings – their innermost.

  16. A super market once asked its female employees to look at each customer, smile and greet them. This was misunderstood as an invitation by a lot of men and was stopped. Forcing people to smile is not supportive.

  17. How much do we need others to perform how we would like? And how much do we initiate, what truly feels right? We can bring a spark of light to life no matter where others are at. Fact 🙂

  18. A smile can be a distraction to hide what is really going on. A mask we put on to not reveal the truth of how we are really doing.
    Why have we stopped showing each other how we really doing? Why have we put all those layers we didn’t have as a kid? We were naturally beautiful. What happened?
    The teachings presented by Serge Benhayon are showing us all.

  19. I wonder how many of us judge ourselves as well – as in pick out the faults we see in ourselves first and focus on that rather than truly allowing ourselves to appreciate the beauty that is in us as well…

    1. Yes we do judge ourselves a lot, Fiona, and picking up on the self deprecating way we talk about ourselves is a great way to stop that and start appreciating the qualities we bring.

      1. Appreciation is key. When I find myself condemning myself or an action(again) I am now focussing on appreciating what I do bring. Someone supported me with this this week – and I felt I stood so much taller!

  20. Understanding that everyone, without exception, is already everything helps us to appreciate them as equals even though they may not yet be living it in full. We are reading with understanding, not judging.

  21. Just the word appreciation has such a warm glow to it bringing a smile to our faces, and that smile just grows as we expand to appreciate each other.

  22. I’m so glad I came across this blog again today. I’ve been noticing how much I can listen with judgement and that now when I do, I realise it is because I have dropped my appreciation for myself and for the other person. Appreciation dissolves judgement.

  23. More and more I got to see and experience how the most simple thing is worth millions; to re-connect with your heart. From there we bring naturally what is there to express.

  24. Very true Carmel, I can not say it in any other way.. ‘I have found that truly connecting with and deeply appreciating another human being is a heart-warming experience.’

  25. So simple yet so true Carmel. Appreciation is confirming, enhancing and to smile from the heart is such a natural response.

  26. Yes beautiful Carmel. A true smile comes from connecting our essence which is innately beautiful, or connecting to essence of another. Therefore you have to let people in, be intimate, and then you see how beautiful people are, everyone of them, you appreciate naturally, a smile pops up: one never ending circle.

  27. Our relationships change when we stop criticising each other and appreciate the qualities we bring, and we definitely need to start with appreciating ourselves and fully accepting how great we truly are.

  28. If I think about how young children know and feel what is happening all the time and how they want to respond it highlights the fact that we drop this and learn another way that is not so true.

  29. I agree Carmel that ‘truly connecting with and deeply appreciating another human being is a heart-warming experience.’, and this for me is what life is all about. True connection, connection to love with ourselves and others is what bring the realness, the truth and the joy to life reminding us that who we are is far greater that being ‘polite’ and ‘nice’.

  30. Children naturally like communicating, they love connecting – sad that we see so many children full of sweets and foods that dulls that connection and instead encourages emotional stimulation that will leave them and parents exhausted.

    1. Yes they do – love connecting. I was shopping this morning and observed several young ones in their supermarket trolley seat watching me. I smiled back – we met each other – a beautiful moment of connection their mother had no idea about.

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